Skip to main content

Full text of "Keating's general history of Ireland."

See other formats





Translated from tlie original Irish, with many enrious AmeDdmeiiis 
taken from the Psalters of Tara and Cashel, (&c., 







BOSTON v^^mm tjbrakt 


Dubliu t Pi'Inted by Pattlsoa Jolly, 
2-, Efe^^-x-iit. West. 


TO Tnri! 



My Lord, 

The following General History of Ireland humbly addresses your Loi*d- 
sbip for protection ; a History deduced, with great ndelity, from the 
most early accounts of time, and abounding with relations of the most 
memorable events and heroic exploits of the ancient Irish, among whom 
the royal ancestors of your Lordship have filled the throne of Ireland 
for twenty-nine successions, (as appears from the subsequent genealogy 
of your Lordship's most illustrious house,) and with signal bravery have 
repelled the invasions of foreign enemies, and gave a fresh supply of 
life and vigour to the cause of their expiring country. 

Were the translation of this work proportionable to the dignity of it3 
•subject, it might naturally hope for countenance from your Lordship, 
whose noble and warlike progenitors shine with unrivalled lustre tlu'ough 
many pages of tliis collection ; which I humbly request your Lordship 
to look upon with an eye of favour, not only as it delivers down to pos- 
terity an unexceptionable account of your Lordship's most noble family, 
but as a most sacred refuge for the following history, from the censured 
of illiterate and unjust men, who insolently attempt to vilify and tra- 
duce the lineal descendants of the great Milesians, (a martial, a learned, 
and generous race,) as a nation ignorant, mean-spirited, and supersti- 

It has ever been the distinguishing practice of your Lordship's most 
noble family not only to preserve inviolafble the genealogies of your own 
renowned line, but to express a just veneration and regard for the pub- 
lic records and annals of your native country, which I declare openly to 
the world, are faithfully translated in this history, without fraud or false- 
hood ; and therefore I am farther encouraged to inscribe my labours t(? 
your Lordship's name and patronage. 

And never, may it please your Lordfehip, was any man more ambi- 
tious of proper ra*^aii3 to publish to after a^es the antiquity aud gran- 

1 Q^IQ 


dour of your Lordsliip's extracciou. which flows in a direct line from 
the brave Gadelians, the great founders of the Irish name ; and Pro- 
vidence has at last gratified the passionate desire I have always had, of 
paying my due respects to your Loidship, though 1 despair of paying 
my just acknowledgments ; and though I was never able to produce 
ftny thing of my own, worthy of your Lordship's view, yet that mis- 
fortune is relieved by the present opportunity of offering a translation 
of the genuine and venerable antiquiues and monuments of Ireland 
to your Lordship's candid approbation. 

To pray for the prosperity and continuance of your Lordship's illus- 
trious life, and that your noble line may for ever flourish, as a security 
for the blessing of peace and liberty to their country, as it is ray duty, 
60, my Lord, it is my ambition to appear upon all occasions, 

Your Lord-sliip's most obedient, 

and Oioat devoted humble servani, 

DEi.MOD 0'Cu.>x.O.[l 





i:a:il of ixcii;q:in. 

To Ki3i(j MiLESlUS, OF hlM. 

William O'Bryen, the fourth earl of Inchiquiu, married to Lnly 

Anne Hamilton, eldest daughter and coheir to George HamiUoa, 

earl of Orkney ; son of 
William O'Bryen, third earl of Inchiquin, married Mary, daughter la 

Sir Ed. Villiers, knt., and sister to the earl of Jersey ; son of 
"William O'Bryen, second earl of Inchiquin, married Lady Margaret 

Bojle, daughter to Roger Boyle, first earl of Orrery ; son of 
Morough O'Bryen, fifth lord baron of Inchiquin, created first earl of 

Inchiquin married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir VVm. St. Leger, knt., 

lord president of Munster, son of 
Dermod O'Bryen, fourth lord baron of Incln'qiiin, married EUer, • 

daughter of Sir Edmond FitzGerald, of Ballimaloe, knt. ; son of 
"Morough O'Bryen, third lord baron of Inchiquin, married Margaret 

daughter of Sir Thos. Cusiack., knt., lord chancellor, and one of 

the lord justices of Ireland ; son of 
Morough O'Bryen, second lord baron of Inchiquin, married to Mablc. 

daughter of Christ. Nugent, lord baron of Delvin ; son of 
Dermod O'Bryen, first lord baron of Inchiquin, married to Lady Mar- 

garet, daughter to Doiiough, second earl of Thomond ; son of 
Morough O'Bryen, fourth son to the last prince of Thomond, raarriol 

to Eleanor, daughter of Thos. FitzGerald, called Knight of Valley ; 

8011 of 

Turlough O'Bryen, prince of Limerick and Thomond, married to Joan 
Fitz Maurice, daughter to Icrd Fitz Maurice, alias Vulgu liaibus, 
lord baron of Kerry and Lixnaw ; son of 

Tt'ige an Condaig O'Bryen, married to Aunabellu Bourk, daughter to 
ft Lac William; tiuu wf 


Turlougli O'Eryep, married to Slany, daughter to LogMen Ladir Mac- 

r.amara ; son of 
Pryeii Cuthaneny O'Bryen, married to Slanyiu Maciiamara ; son of 
Mahou O'Bryen, married to tlie daughter of the prince of Leinster, of 

the lineal descent of Dairy Barrach, son of Cathaoir More, monarch 

of Ireland ; son of 
Muiriertagh O'Brien, married to Sarah ; daughter to O'Kennedy ; 

son of 
Turlough O'Bryen, married to Amina, daughter to Daniel More 

Macarty ; son of 
Teige O'Bryen, married to Fynwola, daughter to Kennedy ; son of 
Connor na Suidini O'Bryen, married to More Macnamara ; soii of 
Donogh Cairbreagh O'Bryen, married to Sarah, the daughter of 

Donough O'Keimedy ; son of 
Daniel More O'Brien (vixit temp. Henrici 11). hing of Cashel and 

Limerick 30 years, married to Orlucam, daughter to Mac Morough ; 

son of 
Turlough O'Bryen, king of Munstcr 6 years, married to Nariait, 

daughter to 6'Fogherla ; son of 
Dermod O'Bryen, king of Muuster 4 years, married Sarah, daughter 

of Teig Macarty ; son of 
Turlough O'Bryen, ruled as monarch of Ireland 12 years, married 

More, daughter of O'Heyne ; son of 
Teige O'Bryen, married to More, the king of Leinster's daughter ;. 

son of 
Bryen Boiromh, monarch of Ireland 12 years. He was slain in tl o 

great battle of Clontarf, and was married to Gormfhlath, daughter 

to Morough Mac Fiinn ; son of 
Kennedy, king of Munster 18 years, married to Beibhion, the daugh- 
ter of Archadh, son of Morough, lord of West Conacht ; son of 
Lorcan, king of Thomond 6 years ; son of 
Laghtna, king of Thomond 3 years ; son of 
Core, king of Munster 17 years j son of 
Anluan, prince ot Munster ; son of 

Mahon (vixit circa septimum sseculm post nat. Christi) ; ssn ol, 
Turlough, king of Munster 36 years : son of 
Cathal, king of Thomond 7 years ; son of 
.(,odh Caomh, king of Thomond 41 years ; son of 
<:^onall, prince of Thomond ; son of 
Eochaidh Baldearg, king of Munster 29 years ; son of 
Carthan Fionn, king of Thomond 45 years ; son of 
Bloid, king of Thomond 16 years ; son of 
Cas, king of Thomond 16 years ; son of 
Conall Eachluath, king of Munster 13 years ; son of 
Luighaidh Mean, king of Munster 27 years ; son of 
Aongus Cinaithreach, king of Munster 30 years ; sou of 
Fearchorb, king of Muuster 16 years ; son of 
i-!odh Chorb, king of Munster 27 years : son of 
Cormac CaSj^ king of Munster 12 yeava; son of 


OHioll Olum, king of Munster 27 years ; son of 

Eog-an More, king of Munster 15 years ; son of 

Modha Neid, king of Munster 23 years ; son of 

Deary, prince of Munster ; son of 

Deirgthine, half king of Munster 13 years ; son of 

Eana Munchaoiu, half king of Munster 10 years ; son of 

Luig heach More, king of Munster 2 years ; son of 

Modhafeibhis, prince of Munster; son of 

Muireach, king of Munster 17 years ; son of 

Eochaidh Garbh, king of Munster 36 years; son of 

Duac li Donn Dalta Deagha, monarch of Ireland 10 years ; son ot 

Cairb re Cuisgleathan, king of Munster 28 years ; son of 

Luighaidli Laighne, monarch of Ireland 5 years ; son of * 

Jonadhmhar, monarch of Ireland 3 years ; son of 

Niad h Seadhamhuin, monarch of Ireland 7 years ; son of 

Adamhar, monarch of Ireland 5 years ; son of 

Fearchorb, monarch of Ireland 11 years ; son of 

Modhchorb, monarch of Ireland 7 years; son of 

Cobhthaig Caomh,.kihg of Munster 29 years ; son of 

lleachta ilighdhearg, monarch 20 years ; son of 

Lughaidh Laighe, monarch 7 years ; son of 

Eochaidh, monarch 7 years ; son of 

Oilioll Fio an,, monarch 9 years ; son of 

Art, monarch 6 years ; son of 

Luighaidh Lamhdhearg, monarch 7 years ; son of 

Eochaidh Vairceas, monarch 12 years ; son of 

]juighaidh Jardhoinn, monarch 9 years ; son of 

Eadhna Dearg, monarch 12 years ; son of 

Duach Fionn, monarch 5 years ; son of 

Se.idhna Jonaraice, monarch 20 years ; son of 

Breasrigh, monarch 9 years ; son of 

Art Imleach, monarch 22 years ; son of 

Elim, monarch 1 year ; son of 

Rotheachta, monarch 7 years ; son of 

Eoane, prince of Ireland; son of 

Failbhe, king of Munster 26 years ; son of 

Cas Cead Chaigneach, king of Munster 36 years ; son of 

Aildergoid, monarch 7 years ; son of 

Muiuiieamhoin, monarch 5 years ; son of 

Casclothacht, king of Munster 13 years ; son of 

Irereorda, prince of Ireland ; son of 

llotheachta, monarch 25 years ; son of 

Glas ; son of 

Nuagatt Deaghlamh ; son of 

Kosa, prince of Ireland ; son of 

Eochaidh Faobhargias, monarch 20 years ; son of 

Coumaol, monarch 30 years ; son of 

Heber Fionn, half monarch of Ireland one year ; son of 

Milesius, king of Spain 



Very little information can be obtained at present of tlie early years of tlio 
Rev. J. Keating, till his departure to Spain, where he studied in the college vi 
Salamanca for twenty- three years. On the return of this memorable di\'iiie, iie 
was received with singular respect by all ranlsrs of his countiymen, and his 
native parish, Tybrud, conferred on him, which he afterwards resigned to th>3 
Rev. Eugene Duhy. This Duhy, like a second Moses, prayed with uplifted 
hands, whilst our Rev. author fought the enemy of the souls and the characte.- 
of his countrj'men, for many years, which reflects infinite honour on his memory, 
and renders the Irish nation for ever indebted to him. He appeared always 
cheerful and pleasing, and the fervent zeal of his soul suffered no moment of 
nis life to pass unemployed in the service of his God, but was either praying, 
preaching, or writing ; his amitible conversation was ever blended with edifying 
examples and instruction ; his shining virtues charmed and captivated the 
nn"nds of the worthy and benevolent, insomuch that nuiny of the Protestant 
religion contributed to erect a parish chapel for him, which still remains in 
the same yard with their o^vn church. His zealous discharge of his sacerdotal 
duties endangered his life; a lady, kept by a gentleman, was excommu- 
nicated by him ; furious with rage, this wicked man tlu-eatened the life of 
our author, who, in order to avoid the effects of his malice, was obliged to 
conceal himself in the Avood of Aharla, situated between the mountain Gailte 
and the town of Tipperary. During his concealment there, he wrote the 
histoiy of Ireland. -.5 

Of the writers which Ireland has produced, none was more disinterestbi 
than our Rev. author. Although perfectly skilled in the English language, 
he chose the Irish, the language of his country, not only for his history, but 
for his numerous valuable works, which still exist, and are superior to it. 
Labouring from no lucrative view, he cheerfully bestowed his productions to 
confirm and edify his countrymen. 

In the f(^llowiiig verses the Irish language is thus described by him : — 

As milis an teanga an Ghaoidhilge, 
Guth gan, chabhair, choigchrithc, 
Glor gle, gling, ga:?da, 
Sein'h, suairc, sult-bLlasda. 


Cia Eabhra teanga as seannda, 
Cia Laidion. isfteagliauta, 
Uatha iiirthe nior frith ling, 
Tuairem focail do chomaoin. 
In EugUsh : 

The Irish is a language completely UAveet, 
In aid of Avhich no foreign e'er did meet ; 
A copious, free, keen, and extending voice, 
And mellifluent, brief; for mirth most choice. 
Although the Hebrew language be the first, 
And that, for learning, Latin be the best. 
Yet still, from them, the Irish ne'er was found 
One word to borrow, to make its proper sound. 
The following inscription, in raised letters, is placed over the door of the 
churcii of Tybrud, where those venerable divines, the Kev. Eageue I>uhy 
and the liev. J. Keating, are interrecL 

t- IMaria 

1 I— I S ^ 1 R 

or.>.Tl<;j rroAiabg p. Eugenij : Duhj vie. de Tybrud : et -. Doct. 
oiIf. keariiig huiQ sacelli FuadaToru : necno eiprooibg alija 
Ta sacerd. Quani Laicis qaora corpa. in eou. jacex sa. a? Doui 

The foregoing inscription is thus plainly expressed. 

Orate pro aniinabus Parochi Eugenli Duhy, Vicarii de Tubrud^ et Divi- 
nitatis Doctoris Galfridii Keating, hujus Sacelli Fundatorum ; nee non et 
pro omnibus aliis, tarn Sacerdotibus quam Laicis, quorum Corpora in eodem 
jaoent Sac^jUo. Anno Dommi 1644. 
In English : 

Prav for the souls of the Priest Eugenius Duby, Vicar of Tybrud,* and 
of Jeoffry Keating, D.D,, Fomiders of this Chapd ; and also for all others, 
both Priests and Laity, whose Bodies lie in the same Chapel. In the yeyr 
of our Lord 1G44. 

On our author the following epitaph also has been written: 
In one urn in Tybrud, hid from, mortal eye, 
A poet, prophet, and a priest doth lie ; 
All these, and more than in one man could be, 
Coceutcred wei-e in famous Jeoffry. 



NonviTHSTANDixo the gi-eat length of the original preface of Dr. Keating, I 
am obliged to detaia the reader by a short account of this translation, the induce- 
ments that led to it, and the objections made against it. 

The genuine merit of the folloAving history is so far from being questioned by 
the learned Irish, that the nobility and gentry of the kingdom have preserved it 
as an invaluable collection of antiquity, and the author has said so much in its 
\indicatiou, that I submit it to the impartial and judicious, only desiring it 
might be read "with that degree of candour which justly belongs to a subject that 
runs through so many dark and unlearned ages. This chronicle of Ireland is 
not offered to the world as an infallible record, perfectly free from errors and mis- 
takes, for it is impossible that the true origin of any kingdom or people in the 
world can be discovered at this remote distance ; and it is certain that the his- 
tories of all nations, the higher they are traced, the more they are encumbered 
with fictions, and often with relations utterly incredible. But does it foUowthat 
the whole of these accoimts is nothing but fable, because some matters are re- 
corded which carry an air of falsehood ? If this rule be admitted, no history cr 
chronicle in the world, except the inspired writings, would escape ; for human 
compositions, notwithstanding all imaginable care, can never claim a right to 

It is weU known that a translation of Dr. K eating's history has bem often 
attempted, but without success ; nor did the design miscarry from any discou- 
ragements it met with, but being a work of great expense, and written in a diffi- 
cult and mysterious language, it did not come to maturity before this time, to 
the great disappointment of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom, who had 
the original in that esteem, that they thought it justly deserved a translation, 
and resolved to support it. It was some years ago when I entertained the first 
thoughts of this undertaking, and I communicated myself to Dr. Anthony Ray- 
mond of Dublin, who approved of my design, and promised to assist me in it : 
but some misfortunes falling upon his own private affairs, I desisted from prose - 
cuting my resolution at that time. "NVTien I arrived in England I could have no 
prospect, in a strange country, of encouragement to publish so chargeable a 
work, but was again solicited, by the importunity of friends, to resume my design 
of a translation, to offer it to the world by way of subscription ; I tmdertook the 
work and finished it, and have met T^ith encouragement beyond my expectation. 
The most noble personages in the kingdom of Ireland, for birth, quahty, and 
learning, have done me the honour of their names, which is an evidence of the 
high esteem tlioy entertained of die isriginal, and that they judged it so far from 


being an old insipid legend of fables, that they valued it as the choicest colloc- 
lion of ancient records that possibly can be i-ecovered from the ruins of time, to 
support the honour of their ancestors, and to give the world a just idea of the 
dignity of the countiy where they were ^om. 

There is an author, who has concealed his name, that has, with great ignoranfi 
and envy, attempted to explode and ridicule the labours of the great Dr. Keating, 
and to stigmatize the following history as a fictitious and romantic compositiim 
He has likewise bestowed some flowers of his oratory in representing the weak 
ness of my abilities, and my incapacity for the work 1 had undertaken. WJia 
relates to myself, being entirely persona!, and weak, insignficant scandal, is be- 
k;\v the concern of the reader and my own, and therefore 1 shall only In this 
place, answer an objection or two, wherein he has aspersed the character of my 
author, and vindicate the reputation of this history", whose intrinsic worth, in tiit 
opinion of men of learning, is placed beyond the reach of his malice, thougLi 
among the injudicious, and before the pubhshlng of this translation, his yplccJi in some measure the effect he desired, and in a small degree prejudiced me 
in my subscriptions. 

The prefacer to the Memoirs of the Marquis of Clanricarde promisies'the world, 
in his pompous title-page, a learned dissertation, wherein was inserted a digres- 
sion containing several curious observations concerning the antiqmties of Ireland, 
And he has fulfilled his word so far as to labour In the proof that there are no 
real antiquities in the kingdom of Ireland ; that their records are not genuine, 
but the invention of bards or dmids, who, in the times of ignorance and super- 
stition, Imposed upon the world ; and that the chronicle of Dr. Keating is a col- 
lection from those spurious and romantic compositions, whose authority he knew 
to be invalid, and to whose testimony he never gave any real belief. But the 
insolence of this censure appears, not only by destroying in one breath the evi- 
dence of all the national chronicles of Ireland, but as it proceeds from a person 
who never had in his possession one of those ancient records, which, if he had, 
his ignorance and Avant of skill in the language made him incapable to under- 
stand. It is certain that the abilities of this prefacer in the Irish tongue extend 
no farther than the knowledge of a school-boy, and a small acquaintance with 
the modern characters of that language ; and the utmost of his learning consists 
only in turning over some fabulous tracts, of a late date, such as Brulghean 
Chaorthuin, Eachtra an Ghiolla Dheachair, Cath Fionntragh, (Sbc, which, by the 
way, was the true reason, why he never performed his promise to the world, of 
publishing a histoiy of Ireland from the ancient records, for he was sensible h;5 
Ignorance of the original Irish language rendered him incapable to fulfil it ; and 
therefore it is no wonder that he has traduced those venerable antiquities, as false 
and incredible fictions, having no other way to make a tolerable excuse to thotse 
persons whom, for many years, he put In expectation of an Irish history. I con- 
fess I have, in one sense, done him an irreparable damage, by publishing this 
translation, because he can no longer Impose upon his friends, by amusing thein 
with a histoiy of Ireland, and consequently he must be sensibly afiected by the 
discontinuance of the many favom-s he has received upon the merits of that pro- 
spect. However it must always be esteemed a malicious and ungenerous prac- 
tice, for a man to throw aspersions upon the public records of a nation, upon 
whose character he has been supported for many years, and upon whose autho- 
rity he laid a scheme for his future subsistence. 

It is with great confidence asserted, by this prefacer, that there is no such por- 
fion in this ago, as an antiquary, throughoiit the kingdom of Ireland when it is 
rao^^t evident, and I call upon thousands to attest it, that there are numbers of 
them, whose employment it is to transcribe the ancient chronicles, and to instruct 


the yoiitli in the proper la.igiiaixe of the countiy : and his malice is <2qaally con- 
spicuous where he says, that the only remaining copy of Dr. Keating's his- 
tory is in the bands of the Baron of Cathir, since it is unquestionably certain, 
t>!at many copies have been transcribed, and the manuscripts are preserved in 
several hands, and scattered through most parts of the kingdom. 

Dr. Lloyd, it seems, we are told with great triumph, in his catalogue of Irisli 
manuscripts he found in Trinity College, Dviblin, makes no mention of the Ptyal- 
ters of Cashel and Tara ; from whence it is inferred, that there are no such re 
cords, and consequently to pretend to quote them is an imposition and an abus( 
upon mankind. In answer to this charge it must' be obsei-ved, that Dr. Lloyd 
ffas a professed stranger to the old manuscripts of that kingdom, as he generously 
■confesses in his Ai-chteologia Britannica; and it is well knoA^^l that there is a 
large folio, in fine vellum, fairly -written some hundred years ago, in Ballimore, 
in the county of Meath, which contains the historical transcript of those Psalters, 
the Book of Ardmagh, and other valuable antiquities. This choice record is now 
presei-ved in Trinity College, which I had the favour of perusing, and I kept it 
in my custody for six months. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude 
to the learned Dr. Anthony Eaymond, of I'rim, fur the favour he did me in 
entering into a bond of a thousand pounds, as security for my restoring this 
ancient manuscript after my perusal of it. 

What this prefacer observes, ccncerhkig a translation of Dr. Keating's histoiy, 
hj the procurement of the Right Honourable the Earl of Orrery, grandfather to 
the present earl, is true iu fact, and I confess that this chronicle was translated 
by Timothy Roe O'Connor, the father of Conn O'Connor, lately deceased , but 
the reflection made upon it, that the earl suppressed this translation, out of 
justice to the world, which he resolved not to abuse with hes and fables, is a 
charge as false and malicious. For the true reason wliy that noble lord refused 
to let that translation come abroad, was to enhance the value of it, and to make 
bis manuscript the greater curiosity, which would have lost much of its esteem 
if it had been printed and published. 

Thus far have I followed and detected the ignorance and peevishness of this 
writer, whose envy and disappointments have carried him into manifold errors,, 
and into the lowest of personal reflections. But I leave him to be corrected bj 
the torment of his own mind, and the contempt of his former friends, who, justly 
sensible of his ungenerous proceedings, his invincible malice, and his notorious 
w;u:t of capacity, have banished him their acquaintance, as an infamous renegado 
and wicked libeller upon the glojy and honour of his native countiy. 

For want of a more convenient opportunity, and because the following infor- 
mation came too late to be inserted in the body of the history, the account I 
liave received shall be communicated in this place. 

There has b^en a dispute among learned men, whether the ajicient kings of 
Ireland, of the Milesian race, wore crowns of gold, after the manner of other 
nations. We are informed by Hector Boetius, in his second and tenth book, that 
tlie kings of Scotland, from the time of Feargus to the reign of Achaius, used a 
plain crown of gold, militaris valli forma, "in the' form of a mihtary trench;" 
and it is more than probable that in this practice they followed the Irish moii- 
archs, from whom they derived their descent and customs. And this conjecture 
is still rendered more reasonable by a golden cap, supposed to he a provincial 
crown, that was found in the year 1G92, in the county of Tipperarj^, at a place 
called Bamanely by the Irish, and by the English, the Devil's Bit ; it was dis- 
covered about ten feet under ground, by seme workmen that were digging up 
turf for firing. This cap or crown weighs about five ounces ; the border and the 
head is raised in chase-\^ork. and it stenss to bear some resemblance to the closje 


nrown of tne eastern empire, -wliich vras competed of the helmet together vrllh f 
diadem, as the learned Seldeu observes in liis Titles of Honom*, Part I. chap, h 

Some of the antiquarians of Ireland have imagined, that this was the ctoav n 
worn by some provincial kings, under the command of Biyen Boiroimhe, who 
beat the Danes in so many battles •, others are rather inclined to believe that it 
belonged to the Irish monarchs, before the planting of Christianity in that kin.; 
dom ; and they give this reason, because it is not adorned with a cross, whicti 
was tlis common ensign of Christian princes. However, it is a valuable piece of 
curiosity, and would unavoidably have beer, melted down, had it not 'been pre- 
served by Joseph Comerford, Esq., a curious gentleman, descended from a younger 
brother of Comerford, in the county of Stafford, who attended King John in hi? 
expedition into Ireland, and there married the niece of Hugo de Lacy, a great 
favourite of that king ; ever since which thne the family has flourished in that 
countiy, and were formerly barons of Danganmore. This gentleman being ren- 
dered incapable, by reason of his religion, to purchase lands in his own countiy, 
has bought the marquisate of Anglure, with a good estate upon the river Axile, 
in Champaigne, which he has settled in default of issue from himself, upon his 
brother Captain Luke Comerford, an officer of great esteem in the French ser-v'ice, 
and his heirs male, and in default of such. issue, upon his kinsman Sir John 
Comerford (a major-general, and colonel of a regiment of foot, in the service of 
the king of Spain), and his male issue. Sir George Sldddy, a near relation to 
Mr. Comerford, has likewise acquired a good estate in France. This gentlemau 
is a great-grandson to Sir George Skiddy, formerly of Waterford, and of Skiddy'i* 
C&stle in the countv of Cork, is a kjiight of the military order of St. Lewis, a;vl 

coior.el of foot. 


WnOErER uiidertakes to write the history of any nation or kingdom, ought to 
jive a true and impartial account, not only of tlie eounfcry and the laws, but also 
of the customs and manners of the people ; and therefore, having undertaken to 
deduce the history of Ireland from the most distant ages, I think myself obliged 
wO remove beforehand, those false and injurious represeiLtations which have been 
'lublished concerning the ancient Irish, who for above these three thousand years 
have inhabited this kingdom, as well as what relates to the old English who have 
been settled here ever since the reign of King Henry II. 

The English historians, who have siiice that time vncote about the affairs of Ireland, 
have industriously sought occasion to lessen the reputation of both ^ as appears 
by Giraldus Cambrensis, Spencer, Stanihurst, Morrison, Campion, and others 
who, when they write of Ireland, seem to imitate the beetle, which, when enh- 
vened by the influence of the summer heats, flies abroad, and passes over tha 
delightful field?, neglectful of the sweet blossoms or fragrant flowers that are in 
its way, till at last, directed by its sordid inclination, it settles upon some nauseous 
excrement. Thus the above-mentioned authors proceed when they write of this 
kingdom : what was worthy or commendable in the Irish nobility and gentry, 
they pass over. They take no notice of their piety, learning, and courage, of 
their charitable disposition to buUd churches and religious houses, or of the 
great privileges and endowments they conferred and settled upon them : they 
omit to speak of the protection and encouragement they gave to then* historio- 
graphers, and to other men of learning, to whom their liberality was so abound- 
ing, that they not only relieved the indigency of those who made their applica- 
tions to them, but made public invitations to find an opportunity to bestow 
gratifications upon persons of merit and desert. They forget to mention their 
vhtues and commendable actions ; but, in their accounts of this kingdom, these 
authors dwell upon the manners of the lower and baser sort of people, relate idle 
and fabulous stories, invented on purpose to amuse the vulgar and ignorant, and 
pass over aU that might be said with justice, to the honour of the nobihty and 
gentry of this nation. 

It is certaui that the old Irish, before the English invasion, were a generous 
and brave people, as appears particidarly by the trouble they gave the Romans, 
and by the assistance they afSardecl the Scots, and by obliging the Britons to 
eject a wall of a vast extent between England and Scotland, to defend themseh'es 
from the terrible incursions of the Scotch and Irish ; and though the Romans 
were obliged to keep up an army of 62,000 foot and 300 horse, to preserve tho 
boundaiies and to secure the limits of their conquests, and likeM^se had in con- 
stant pay a body of 23,000 foot and 1300 horse, to protect the sea-coasts and 
other parts of the coruitry from the hostilities of the Scots and Ticts, yet the 

Tvi pr;.face. 

bravery of the ancient Irish broke through their lines and fortification,?, and oTia^ 
defeated the whole pi.wer of the Roman army, and carried otf imniense booty 
from the inhabitants, as Samuel Daniel, an English historian, in his chronicle 
expressly testifies. 

Cormac Mac Cuillenan, king of Munster, and arciibishop of Cashel, gives an 
account in his Psalter, that the in-esistible valour of the Irish and Picts compelled 
the Britons three several times to give up, as a sacrifice, the chief commander of 
the Romans, in order to stop the fury of their arms and obtain their friendship. 
Nor is it to be forgotten into what miseries and distress the Britons were reduced 
by the Irish, in the reign of Vortigern, who found himself obliged to retain Hen- 
gist, and his German auxiliaries, to defend him from tlieir incursions ; as the 
fame English annalist particularly asserts. The same author relates that the 
Romans, who called themselves the conquerors of die world, were forced to eroct 
fourteen strong garrisons, to protect them from the hostilities of the Scots and 
Picts, who harassed them with continual inroads, and cut off numbers of their 
.egionary soldiers, notmthstanding tliey were assisted by'^he whole power of the 
Britons, ft-om the time of Julius Cassar to the reign of Valentinian, the third 
emperor of that name, which consisted of the space of 500 years. The Rom ms 
lost' the command of Britain in the year of our redemption 4-11 ; before wiuch 
time it was, that the contest happened between Theodosius and Maximus, wSiicii 
obliged the latter to transport with him a considerable number of Britons, iatrj 
that part of France called Armorica or Little Britain ; the natives of that country 
he expelled, and fixed the Britons in their possessions, whose posterity are known 
in that place to this day. 

I'here are authors in being of some antiquity, who are veiy solicitous to blem- 
ish the character of the ancient Irish ; particularly Strabo, who in his fourth book 
asserts, that they were cannibals, and lived upon human flesh. In answer to 
this opprobrious charge, it is to be observed, that Strabo had no opportunities to 
inform himself of the disposition and manners of the Irisii ; nor is there any 
chronicle relating to that nation, which gives the least encouragement to this 
opinion, or any instance of this practice to be found in the ancient records, ex- 
cept of a lady, whose name was Eithne, daughter to a king of Leinster, that 
was nursed in the country of Deisies, in the province of Munster, -whose fos- 
terers fed her with the flesh of children, in order to make her the sooner ripe for 
matrimonial embraces. But the reason of this, it must be observed, was to ac- 
complish a prediction, which foretold that the fosterers of this lady should Im 
fixed in the possession of large territories by the prince Vv^ho was to be her hus- 
band, who proved to be Aongus Mac Nadfaoieh, king of Munster, as will be taker, 
notice of in the body of the following history. 

But is this candid, to pronounce upon the mannei's of a Arhola nation from one ex- 
ample? and if such barbarity was consistent with the general disposition of the peo- 
j le, is it not strange, that this instance of Eithne siiould stand by itself upon record, 
which it would have been impertinent to mention, if the body of the old Irish con- 
curred in this savage practice? The testimony of this author, therefore, is not 
to be regarded, who asserts, that the eating of human flesh was a custom in thia 
nation, which is inlpossible to be pn^vad but from one single instance ; and even 
this action was committed in the times of paganism and idolatry, and upon a 
particidar occasion. The authority of Strabo is well known by the learned. n'>t 
to be sacred, nor will tliis aspersion afi"ect the humanity of the ancient Irish 
amoug sober and impartial judges. 

Never was any nation under heaven so traduced by malice and ignorant-e as 
the ancient Irish. Among other falsehoods and absuriiities, Solinus in his 
twenty-first chapter asserts, that there are no bees in tiie-^sland, that the male 
ciuidreu receive the (irst food they eat from the poiu.} ot a sword, and scuudai- 


ons!y reVitcs, that the Iri^-h T^ ash their faces with the blood of their enemic3 
^in.!m they slew in battle; and these facts are positively laid down, without evi- 
dence or qtiotation, and with no other design, than to stigmatise a nation he 
bated to all posterity. 

Pompouius Mela, a wTiter of the same authority, speaking in his tbirrt book 
of the ancient Irish, gives them the character of a people* "ignorant of all vir- 
tues." Other writers might be produced, who fixed the same false imputation 
upon the Irish, without the least certainty ; which made the judicious Camdey., 
■\\hen he spoke of the manners of the Irish, express himself thiis, with great 
truth and integrity ; " We only mention the names of these writers, for we have 
no •\^^tnesses to depend upon, worthy of credit or belief."! The same Camden 
refutes expressly one of the falsehoods of Solinus, who asserted, that there wore 
no bees in Ireland ; where he says, " So great is the multitude of bees in that 
country, that they are to be found, not only in hives, but in the hollow places 
of trees, and of the earth.";]: The Englis>i writers particularly, have never failed 
to exert their malice against the Irish; and represent them as a base and servile 
people. I shall here mention some remarkable instances of their falsehoods, as 
they have transcribed them from that ignorant and malicious writer, Giraldua 
Cambrensis, the great patron of these mercenary and sordid Idstorians. This 
positive writer asserts, -with an air of certainty, that the kingdom of Ireland paid 
tribute and chiefry to King Arthur, who obliged them to this acknowledgment of 
subjection in the city of Leon, in the year of our Lord 519 ; as Campion observes, 
in the second chapter of the second book of his Chroni<^'c, where he says, that 
one Giollamara was king of Ireland at that time. Notwithstanding the author of 
the Policronicon, and other English writers of a later date, make mention of Giol- 
lamara, king of Ireland, yet I challenge the malice and industry of the most in- 
veterate of our enemies, to find, in the antiquities of Ireland, that there ever waa 
a king of that name, unless they are deceived by the analog}^ of the so^md, and 
intend Murthough More Mac Area, who was monarch of the Island in king Ar- 
thur's time, and sent six of his brothers into Scotland, one of whom, Feargus 
More Mac Area, aftei-wards became king, and raised himself to the sovereigTity 
of that country. It is certain, that King Arthur himself fell by the sword of the 
Scots and Picts ; and of equal credit it is, that the Feargus above-mentioned was 
the first king of the Scots ; though Hector P>oetiuiPli fabulous wi-iter, labour.s to 
evince the contrary, and to prove, that twenty-nine kings sat upon the throne of 
that kingdom before Feargus wore the crown. He relates likewise, with the 
same certainty, that Feargus, the son of Fearagher, king of Ireland, was the first 
king of the Scottish race ; w^hich is an assertion without suppoj t, for never was 
there a mionarch of Ireland of the name of Fearagher ; and therefore Feargusr 
Iliac Fearagher was not king of Scotland, as Hector I3oetius confidently lays 
down. It is certain that Murtough More, king of Ireland, was pleased that Ids 
brother, Feargus Mac Area, should wear the cro-mi of Scotland, but tjpon con- 
dition to pay homage to Murtough, who in the annals of Ireland is called rex 
Scotorum, king of the Scots ; to intimate that he possessed the sovereignty ovei 
the two kingdoms of Scotland and Ireland, and therefore was a prince of more 
superior nole than to submit or confess himself a tributary to king Arthur. 

Speed, ill his Chronicle, with gi-eater justice observ-es, that the king of Ireland 
ov.-ned no manner of chiefry or tribute to King Arthur, but that both princes en- 
gaged in a league ofi'enaive and defensive against all their enemies. This he 
calls jus beih socialis, the right of a social war, in the same manner as the treatv 

* Omnium virtntem isTiari. 

* iuiiuin C[iiPe corpmemDrMmns. diiiii'^s fide t'stes non li«bpraM3, 

t ^] um est tanfa ir.uitfltudo, ui non solum ai^aaribus sed etiam in arborum ei (;. ra 
CRVHUiis rejioriaiit'ir. 

xviii prefacp:. 

concluded between the king of Spain and the emperor ; not that it was iatendsd 
as if the emperor was to pay a tribute to the king of Spain, or the king of Spain 
was under any acknowledgments of chiefry to him, but they were mutually bound 
to support one another against all attempts. The same friendship and stipula 
lation was established between King Arthur and Murtough ; they were equally 
obliged to defend each other, but under no testimonies of submission on either 
side. ,Aiid the truth of this efiuality between the two kings is abundantly con- 
firm 3d by the testimony of ISTubigensis, who, in the twenty-sixth chapter of the 
second book of his history has this expression, concerning the kingdom of Ire- 
land ;* " Ireland nerer lay under a foreign power." And Cambrensis himself 
agrees with this opinion, in his forty-sixth chapter, where he thus speaks to the 
same purpose. f " Ireland from the beginning remained free from the incursion 
of foreign nations.'' From whence it is evident, that neither King Arthur, nor 
any other power, received tribute, or any servile acknowledgment, from the king- 
dom of Ireland, until they submitted to King Henry II. Nor is it to be sup- 
posed, that the Britons could lay claim to any authority over this island, since 
the hardy Romans could never make her tributaiy ; so fa.r from that, that in- 
stead of losing her liberty, she not only preserved her o^vn freedom, but was a 
safeguard and protection to other nations, and a scourge to the Romans and 
Other oppressors, wherever she displayed her banners. 

The learned Camden gives tt'^ testimony in his Britai\i-\Aa,t ""When the Romans 
had extended their empire on all sides, many, no doubt, out of Spain, France and 
Britain, removed into Ireland, in order to avoid the most unjust yoke of the 
Romans." From this evidence it is to be collected, not only that the Romans never 
extended their conquests into Ireland, but that the miserable people of the neigh- 
bouring countries found a refuge from the oppressions of the Romans among the in- 
\'incible Irish, who were never subdued. Whoever so much envies the glory of the 
ancient Irish, as to assert that they were under the power of the Romans, let him 
have recourse to the same judicious writer, who says,|| "It will be the utmost 
difficulty to make me believe, that the country of Ireland was at any time un- 
der the dcminion of the Romans." •- 

Cambrensis (an inexhaustible fund of falsehood) injuriously relates, in his 
ninth chapter, that the Irisij^en succeeded in their brother's bed, and manied 
the women who had been before married to their brothers, and that tithes were 
never paid to the clergy in Ireland, till the arrival of Cardinal John Papiriou 
from Rome ; which will appear to be a forgery, and an imposition upon man- 
kind, not only in the body of this history, but in this preliminary vindication 
now before us. The same author, speakuig in his seventh chapter of the natural 
curiosities of Ireland, writes, that there is a fountain in the province of Munster, 
■which instantlj'" makes the hair of the head gray when it is dipped into it ; and 
that there is another fountain in Ulster, of a quite contrary quality, that upon 
wetting it restores the hair to its genuine colour ; though upon a survey there 
are now no footsteps, not even in the traditions of the people, remaining of such 
w^ells, nor were they in the days of Cambrensis, who imposes upon the world 
with his fabulous rarities, and amuses his readers at the expense of his own cre- 
dit and veracity, t* Equally worthy of belief is what he relates in his twenty- 
second chapter, that when the gentlemen of Ireland, who had been at variance, 
vrere willing to become friends, they used the custom of kissing the relics of 

♦ Hibernia nuTiquam subjacuit extenias ditioni. 

t Hibernia ab initio ab omni alienarum gentium incursu libera permanslt. 

t Cum suum Romani imperium undique propagassent, multi proculdabio ex Hispania, 
Gallia et Britannia hie se receperunt, ut iiiiquissimo komanoru'm jugo colla subduceru.".t, 

II Ego animum vix inducere possum ut hanc regionem la Romanorum potestatciu ullo 
teiopore uoncessisse credam,. 

?r)::;ts ill the preieuce o a L'-:uOi), a.^ a soieuui testimony of tnel'r reconciliation , 
but what ibilows is monstrous and incrediole, that they took a draught of each 
other's blood. This is boldly asserted, with his usual effrontery, and without proot 
or foundation ; for if this practice had been received among the Irish, how should 
the professed antiquaries and historians of the kingdom be silent and take no 
notice of it, who were bound to record such a custom, if it had been used, unde» 
no less penalty, than for the omission to be degraded and deprived of then- patri- 
monies ? So that 'this romantic writer is to be stripped of the character of a true 
historian, and to be placed among the vain authors of fables. In his tenth chap- 
ter he entertams us with a notorious falsehood, character of the Irisli, 
that they are a penm-ious and poor-spirited people; bis expression is,* "The 
Irish are an inhospitable people.'' But Stanihursi gives a quite contrary testi- 
mony, and sufficiently confutes this scandal : his svor*.b are,t " The Irish are 
tlie most hospitable men, nor can you oblige them more tl;an by visiting them ■ 
frequently, at their own houses, of your own accord, and without invitation." 

This Cambrensis has perverted a fact of great consequence in the Irish histoiy, 
where he a.sserts positively that it was the queen of i\Jeath who ran away from 
her husband with Dearmud Nangall, king of Leinster ; but the universal testi- 
mony of the Irish antiquaries is against him upon this subject, who agree una- 
nimously that that lascivious lady was the wife of Tiernan O'Rourke, king of 
Briefny ; that her name was Dearbhurgill, and that she was daughter to Mur- 
rough INIac Flom, king of Meath. He writes that the rivers Suir, Feoir, and 
Bearow, flow out of the mountain of Sliabh Bladhma, which is a manifest false- 
hood easy to be disproved ; for it is evident that the Bearow rises out of the east 
point of Sliabh Bladhma, and that the Siur and Feoir proceed out of the east 
point of Mount Aildium, otherwise called Sliabh Bearnain, in the territory of 
Cuirnin. He abuses the world, in the twenty-fifth chapter of his history^b/ 
eaying, that the ceremony of inauguration, in making kings of the family uf 
O'DonUl, was performed in this manner : all the inhabitants of the country were 
assembled upon a high hill; here they killed a white mare, whose flesh they 
boiled in a great cauldron, in the middle of a field, when it was sufficiently boiled 
the king was to sup up the broth with his mouth, and eat the flesh out of his 
hands, without the assistance of a knife or any dj^ifir instrument, but with his 
teeth only ; then he divided the rest of the flesh among the assembly, and after- 
wards bathed himself in the broth. This is a fiction not to be paralleled, com - 
jiounded of ignorance and malice, and directly opposite to the testimony of the 
Irish antiquaries, who have delivered to us an express description of this cere- 
mony. These writers inform us that the Irish kings of the fine of O'Donill, sat 
upon the summit of a hill, surrounded with the principal nobility and gentry of 
their country ; one of the chief of them, advancing towards him, presented hiin 
with a straight Avhite wand, and upon the deliveiy of it he used this form : — 
"Receive, O king, the command of thine own country, and distribute justice 
impartially among thy subjects." The ceremony of the rod was attended with 
an excellent moral ; for it was straight and white, to recommend uprightness ia 
judgment, and to intimate that a prince should rule with clean and unspottei/ 
hands, should keep them white, and never stain them Avith the blood of his peo* 
pie. So that the confidence of Cambrensis is the more astonishing, who conceals 
so rational and laudable a custom, and introduces in the room of it a savage and 
abommable practice, that has no foundation in truth or in history, but is the 
effect of inveterate malice, which iirges him on into absurdities and monstrous 

* I.SD autem gens htec gens iuiiospita 

t Sunt sane homines hospitalissiini, neque illis "Ta. in re magn: > gratnflcart pot(?s qtian; 
Vtj! spoiico ac YOluntate eorum liomus frepueniarj. 

rdatlons, wlileli ('-^rive mors blemislK's unon the character of h'3 h!stf»ry th n 
u])on the ancient Irish, whom at all hazards he resolves to traduce. It is cer- 
tain that that royal family has produced persons of the first order for religion 
nnd piety, and many of this illustrious line have retired from the world, ami 
ended their days in privacy and devout contemplations, particularly St. Columbe, 
whose memory among the Irish will be ever saci-ed. Nor is it to be supposed, 
that the nobility of Ireland, who were a polite 'and civilised people, would per- 
mit the kings of O'Donill to m.ake use of this abominable custom, had they been 
so disposed; and it is unjust to charge this family with such a savage inclination, 
since they were princes of strict piety and exemplary virtue, and abhorred ;i 
ceremony so odious, which Vi^as inconsistent with the religion they professed, and 
savoured so strongly of pagan superstition. This, therefore, is another falsehood 
of Cambrensis, which ought to destroy- his credit for ever among lovers of trutli^ 
and brand on him an indelible mark of infamy to all posterity. 

There is one Spencer, a writer of a chronicle, who, in the thirty-third page of 
h'S history, asserts, with great injustice, that Eigfrid, king of the Protombi, and 
Edgar, king of England, exercised a civil jurisdiction over the kingdom of Ire- 
land ,• but he brings no evidence to support this opinion, and as it opposes the 
a;;thentic records of the kingdom, it must be manifestly false : besides it is well 
known, that the English authors themselves are forced to confess that the Saxons 
destroyed all the public monuments and chronicles of that nation, aud defaced or 
melted dowrn all the coins before their own time, with a design that there should 
no certain memorial remain of the transactions of former ages. And Daniel 
agrees, that the principal part of the British antiquaries are lost, as Glldas com- 
plains in the fourth part of his histoiy. 

I remember that Rider, a Latin lexicographer, in treating of the word Brigaine, 
is of opinion, that Britannia does not i-eceive its derivation from Brutus, be- 
cause it should then with more propriety be called Brutia or Brutica ; and this 
etymology would scarce have escaped the observation of Julius Ciesar, Cornelias 
Tacitus, Diodorus Siculus, the learned Bede, or other writers, who have had 
occasion frequently to relate the transactions of Britain, and yet make no men- 
tion of this derivation. Spencer, therefore, should rather have searched into the 
name of his own country, ap^f^ttempted to clear some dark and incredible pas- 
sages in the Eny;lish history, than to take upon him to write of the affairs of 
Ireland, which it was impossible he could ever come to the knoAvledge of. But 
what is most surprising in this avidacioixs W'riter, is, that he should undertake ta 
!ix the genealogies of many of the gentry of Ireland, and to pretend to derive 
them originally from an English extraction. He particularly takes notice of 
seven families of note in this kingdom, the families of Mac Mahon, Swynies, 
Shyhies, Slacnamaras, Cavanaghs, Tuathallaghs, and Byrns; and says, that 
froiii Ursa, Fitz Ursula, or Bears (sirnames that are in England), descended the 
"Mac Ttlahons of Ulster, and that Beare and Mahon are of the same signification; 
and coiiseq'-iently, that the Mac Mahons aforesaid are derived from that house 
in luigland. 

Sly answer to this assertion is, that it is as reasonable, by the etymolog}' of 
the word, that tlie Mac Mahons of Thumond,' or the O'Mohunys of Cairbr}', 
should descend from thence, as the Mac Mahons of Ulster. And since it is cer- 
tain that those of Thumond or Cairbry did not descend from thence, it may be 
concluded that the Mac Mahons of Ulster are not descended from the house of 
Ursa, or Fitz Ursula, in England, but are lineally derived from Colla da Chrioch, 
Ron of Eochaidh Dubhlein, son of Cairbre Liffeachair, monarch of Ireland, of t1:e 
A)yal line of Heremon. 

_ The Swynies, he wouhJ likewipe persuade li's rf-.-iifis, are origijiaily of ;;a 
liali deitfciit, and are derived from a houoe called }:• }'< in H"^ l^n's^dojaj 



bnt tliis assertion has no more fousaation tl'.an the formpr, for it may he ques- 
tioned whether there ever was such a family iu England, and there is not an 
antiquary in Ireland but knows, and can demonstrate that the Swynies are a 
genuine of the race of Ileremon. 

The family of the Shyhies this writer pronounces of an English extraction: 
but this is a falsehood so easily evinced, that it appears, by their successive 
genealogies, that they are lineal descendants from Colla Uais ; and that Shi- 
ghagh Mac Faghduin, Mac Allasdruim, Mac Donill (from whom descended the 
Blac Donills of Scotland and Ireland), was the gi'eat ancestor to whom the 
JIac Shyhies owe their original. 

"With the'' same freedom and ignorance he deduces the family of the Mac- 
namaras frum a house in England called Mortvmier ; but there is no manner 
of analogy in the sound to prove this opinion, and it is certain, that this 
family are the genuine offspring of a person called Cumara, from whom they 
were distinguished by the title of Clan (which signifies the children of) Mac- 
ramara. The proper sirname of this tribe is Siol Aodha, that is the issue of 
Aodha, and they came originally from Caisin, Mac Caiss, Mac Conilleaghluath, 
of the posterity of Eivir, or Hiberus. 

This confident author attempts to prove that the sirnaraes of the BjTns, of 
the Tuathallaghs, and the Cavanaghs, were first brought out of Britain into 
Ireland, But the e\'idence is very inconclusive by which he supports this 
lOnjecture ; for he is deceived by the similitude of the sound, which made him 
b ilieve that these names were derived from words in the British language ; 
for instance, the word Brin, he says, is the same as woody in English ; but 
supposing this to be true, yet the family of the Byrns are not derived fi-om 
the word Brin, but from a person whose name was Branmuit. The word 
Toll, he says, signifies hilly, by which means the Tuathallaghs from thence 
must derive their name, as he affirms. But notwithstanding Toll and Hilly 
we allow to be the same, yet Toll and Tuathall are vastly different. Besides 
it is well known, that the ancient family of the Tuathallaghs is descended 
from a person whose name was Tuathall, and therefore this supposition of 
Spencer is false and ill-grounded. This writer is equally absurd in his con- 
jecture relating to the family of the Cavanaghs. The word Cavanagh, he says, 
signifies strength or strong, and from hence he declares that the family of the 
Cavanaghs are derived ; but he shoidd have considered likewise, that the word 
Cavan signifies a person of a mild and good-natured disposition, and the tribe of 
the Cavanaghs descended lineally from Daniel Cavanagh, Mac Dermod ne Ngal., 
to whom this name of distinction was given, because he had his education in a 
plate called Cillcaovan, in'Hhe lower part of the province of Leinster ; which 
tribe, according to their sirname, are derived of the same race with the Cinsa- 
laghs. But that they are of an English extraction is so far from being true, 
that they are originally Irish, as expressly appears by their genealogies ; and 
&re derived from Charles the Great, king of Ireland. It is surprising to me how 
fcpencer could advance such falsehoods, as carry with tliera theu- own confuta- 
tion. He was a Avriter that was unable to make himself acquainted with the 
Irish affairs, as being a stranger to the language ; and besides, being of a poeti- 
cal genius, he allowed himself an unbounded licence in his compositions It 
was the business of his profession to advance poetical fictions, and clothe them 
Tyith fine insinuating language, in order to amuse his readers without improving 
them, and to recommend his fables to the world, when he designed to concea , 
or found he coidd not come at the truth. 

Stanihurst is likewise justly to be censured, for his misrepresentations in re- 
lating the affairs of Ireland, He asserts that the country of Meatu was the 
di\ision that anciently fell to Slain^e, Mac Dela, Mac Loigh; but this is faiiely 

aiivunced, because an ancient treatise, called Leabhar Gabhala, or the Boolt ot 
Conquests, observes that the country of Meath, in the time of Slainge, consisted 
but of one territory, that lies iu the neighbourhood of Yisneagh, and did not 
extend farther till the time of Tuathal Teachtrahar. He says, Hkewise, that the 
river of Slainge, that passes through the middle of the pro\-ince of Leinster, and 
runs to Wexford, received its name from that Slainge ! and therefore it appears 
to him, that the codutry of Meath was the division he obtained from his bre- 
thren ; and for a reason equally invaKd, he declares, that Dimiha Slainge (other 
wise called Dion Riogh, situated upon the bank of the Bearow, between Catharlagh 
and Laghhn, upon the west side of that river), had that name from the Slainge 
above mentioned, whose mansion-house he asserts it was, and the^lace where 
he died. But these notions are the genuine otTspring of his own brain ; for he 
was ignorant of the antiquities of Ireland, he had no opportunities of consulting 
the ancient records, and therefore he must be a stranger to the concerns and the 
transactions of the kingdom. 

For will any man persuade me, that this writer made a strict search and in- 
crJry into the chronicles of that nation, when he says, that Kossmacruin lies in 
tlie province of Munster? And so utterly unacquainted was he with the di- 
vl-ioa of the kingdom, that he positively asserts that Meath was a province, 
when Cambrensis (whose ignorance or maUce carried him into notorious false- 
hoods) never gives it that appellation, but agrees so far with the pubHc chroni- 
cles, as to call it only a division of the country taken out of the other provinces. 
This Stanihm-st with great confidence di\ides the kingdom of Ireland into two 
parts, the one inhabited by English, the other possessed by English and Irish ; 
and with uncommon elFrontery asserts, that the meanest Fingallian in Ireland 
would esteem it a corruption of his blood to m.any his daughter into the best 
families among the Irish. The words he uses in his chronicle are,* "The mean- 
est CuilHneach, that lives in the English province, would not give his daughter 
iu man-iage to the most noble prince among the Irish." But where is the fide- 
lity of this author, when it is evident, that many noblemen of the first quality, 
who are originally of English extraction, have married into Irish noble famihes, 
ATriithout any diminution of their honour, or blemish to their posterity. Among 
many instances that might be offered, it will be sufficient to mention the Earl of 
Kildare, who man-ied into the family of Mac Carty Reogh and O'Neill, and by 
that means is related to many gentry in the kingdom ; the Earl of Ormond con- 
tracted into the family of O'Bryen and Mac Gully Patrick ; the Earl of Desmond 
is allied to the tribe of Mac Carthy More, and the Earl of Conacht to the family 
of O'Rourke ; not to speak particularly of viscounts, barons, and gentlemen of 
English descent, and as nobly extracted as any Cuilbneach in Fingall, who have 
not disdained to marry among the original Irish, and upon ail occasions to cul- 
tivate an alliance with them. 

I hit in order the more effectually to invalidate the testimony of Stanihurst, 
that false historian, it must be observed, that he was the most improper to \^^^lo 
a chronicle of Ireland, because he was ovemm with prejudice, and set to work by 
persons who naturally abhorred an Irishman, and urged liim on to misrepresent 
them, at all adventures, as a worthless and ignominous people. This author was 
a renegado from his own countiy, as well as from integrity and truth, and with 
the first air which he drew in England, where he received his education, he con- 
ceived an inflexible aversion to the Irish, which he discovered upon his return, 
when he undertook, without any abilities or proper materials, to write the hi^;- 
tory of Ireland. This doughty performance he waa big with for some years, and 

» rulinomm omnium u'timns qui in An^tia rrnvincia habitat, tiliain suaui liobiiiiiiimo 
whiclpi Ilihernoruia in niatfimonium ooa durct. 

PREFAca. xxifi 

by the help of spleen and ill-natuve, was at last delivered of, to tV great joy of 
his English patrons, who bought him off from his honesty with large biibes, 
and are much more industrious to stigmatise the Irish, than to deliver the me- 
morials of their own nation uncorrupt to posterity. As one notorious instance 
of the hatred this author bore to the people of Ireland, he remarks, that thar 
Cuillineachs of Fingall were highly to blame for not expelling the Irish language 
out of that part of the country, when they drove out the inhabitants, .and forced 
them to look out for new settlements ; and the more to express his virulency he 
observes, that notwithstanding the great encomiviras bestowe(f upon the Irish lan- 
guage, whoever makes himself acqiiainted with it will soon discover the rudeness 
and incivility of those who speak it. What can be the design of these reflections, 
but to intimate, that the English, when they got the sovereignty of the kingdom 
into their hands, ought to have extirpated the Irish race, and, like Pagan con- 
querors, have rooted out the very name and language from off the earth? What- 
ever people carry their arms into another country, and subdue it, if they ara 
Christians, are contented with the submission of the inhabitants, and with trans- 
planting colonies of their own country among the natives : but the practice of 
the Pagans was, after they had reduced a country to obedience, to extirpate tha 
native possessors, and compel them to look out for new abodes in foreign coun- 
tries. Thus, according to the basbarity of this author, ought the English to ha-s'a 
carried on their conquests, to have shaken hands with the principles of humanity 
and religion, and put all the Irish to the sword, A conqueror, who has any sen- 
timents of Christianity within him, never suppresses the language of the nation 
he overcomes ; and in tliis manner the English were treated by William of Nor- 
mandy, When he made a conquest of that kingdom, he permitted the people to 
retain their language, by which means it is continued by the inhabitants with 
some alterations to this day : but Hengist the Saxon, when by the success of his 
arms he became formidable in England, compelled the inhabitants to forsake tha 
country, and transplanted people of his own in their room ; by which means tho 
native language was extii-pated, and the new colonies introduced another of their 
own. This Pagan conqueror acted consistent with the cruel sentiments of Stani- 
hurst, who laments that the Irish language was not banished the island ; which 
could not have been done unless the inhabitants Avho used it had been expellee, 
which had been an act so barbarous and wicked, that no poHtician but Stani- 
hurst would have suggested it, and no conqueror unless a Pagan would have put 
it in execution. Such, therefore, we perceive, was the irreconcilable hatred of 
tbis writer to the nation of the Irish, that the principles of Inimanity and rehgion, 
and law of nature and nations, are to be violated, to destroy the native Irish, 
and in the general massacre the people and ihi language are to be rooted out. 

This writer, among other reflections, condemns the judges for their methods of 
administering justice, and censures the physicians of Ireland as unskilful, and of 
the meanest capacity in their profession. Those aspersions are unpardonable in 
one who had not the least knowledge of the Irish language, and by conseqxxence 
must be a stranger to the method they used in their judicial proceedings ; he 
mvLst be ignorant of the laws and customs of the country, nor is he able to form 
a judgment of the abilities of one profession of men in it. This was the case of 
Stanihurst, who neither was able to read or understand the Irish tongue, and 
might with great justice be compared to a blind man, who finds fault with the 
colour of a piece of cloth, when it is impossible he should have an idea of 
colours, or know the difference between black and blue. The same impropef 
judge is this writer, to pronoimce sentence upon the arts and sciences, the laws 
and customs of tho Irish, when he understood not a word in the language, could 
n')t read their boolcs, nor converse with the learned professors in their owl 



f. iUiiWy tojDe exploded is the testimony of this writer, when he passes a cen 
sura upon the musicians of Ireland, and contemns them aa ignorant of that divino 
art, and strangers to that harmony which belongs to it. With what face could 
Stanihurst assert this falsehood, who had no notion of music, of harmony, or 
distinction of sounds, and no capacity to judge of the notes Siwi excellency of 
Ihat art But malice and prejudice have betrayed him into ignorance to all im- 
partial judges ; for it is well known to all who have conversed in the least with 
the ancient chronicles of Ireland, that no people in the world had a better tast^j 
of music, and took' more delight or ■employed more of their time in the pleasures 
of it. Their laws, their systems of physic, and other sciences, were poetical com- 
pitsitions, and set to music, which was always esteemed the most polite part of 
learning among them. This author, therefore, is rash and ignorant in his cen- 
sures, when he traduces the Irish as a rude and unharmonious nation, when their 
genius peculiarly inclined them to music, in which they became excellent profi- 
cients, and improved the art to a wonderful advantage. I admire that he had 
not upon this occasion consulted Giraldus Cambrensis, who gives a different cha- 
ractei- of the Irish, and particularly applauds them for their accomplishments in 
music. In tiie nineteenth chapter of his history he has this expression :* " I 
f lid the commendable diligence of that nation to be particularly employed in 
musical instruments, with which they are incomparably furnished above any 
other nation that I have seen." But Stanihurst overlooks whatever tends to 
raise the character of the Irish, and thrOAVs scandal and invective in an abundant 
manner, and even in his spleen exceeds the falsehoods of Cambrensis himself, who 
had more modesty than to oppose truth so notoriously evident as that the Irish 
are naturally lovers of music, and have a polite taste of that art. The same 
author bestows a great encomium upon the Irish music in tlie same chapter :t 
" The melody is completed and rendered agreeable by so sweet a swiftness, by so 
vmequal a parity of sound, by so disagreeing a concord." From these citations, 
taken from a writer who renounced all partiality in favour of the Irish, it ap- 
pears that what Stanihurst adv^ances concerning the Irish music is the effect of his 
malice ; and of the same certainty with the character which he gives of the musi- 
iians of Ireland, whom he calls a set of blind harpers; whereas, if he had in- 
fiuired at the time when he wrote his romantic history, he would have found, 
that for one musician that was blind there were twenty who had their perfect 
sight, and could see clearly into the malice of his rotten heart, when he under- 
tooiv to vilify and traduce the Irish, and represent them in the blackest coloai^ 
t'> posterity. 

It ought to be observed in this place, that Stanihurst was, for three unan- 
pwerable reasons, utterly unqualified to write a chronicle ; and therefore he had 
no right to the title of an historian, nor ought by men of learning to be esteemed 
as such. In the first place, he was so young when he undertook this work that 
his years would not allow him to read and examine the ancient chronicles of the 
kingdom, or to arrive at the least knowledge of the genealogies of the people 
whose history he proposed to write. Secondly, if his years would have permitted 
him to peruse the public records of the kingdom, he had not the least acquain- 
tance Avith the Irish language, in Avhich all the memorable transactions and the 
pt.-digrees of the inhabitants were originally written. And thirdly, he had re- 
roimced tliat impartiality which is essentially necessary to an historian; for, 
bring a person of an ambitious nature, and solicitous of applause, those who 
iii-ged him vn to engage in his design courted him with large gifts and prounses 

• In niusicis solum in strum en tis commendabilem invenio gentis istius diligentiam, In 
qnibas pra; omni nations qnam vidimus incoinpriraialiter est instructa. 

i Tarn suavi velocivate, tarn dispari paritate, tam discoiJi coiicoi-auo, consoua redditui 
Ct comi'ietur meiodid. 

J. advan'cemeat, upon condition he Avould blacken the Irish nation ; so that his 
tuteffrity was corrupted by bribes, and therefore he was disabled, unless ho 
would betray his trust and disappoint his patrons, to write the truth, and be just 
in his representations. It is certain that Stanihurst was faithful to those ^'ho 
employed him, and the history which he drew up fully answered their expecta- 
tions ; but he lived to repent the injustice he had been guilty of, and when 
afterwards he entered into holy orders, he promised, by a formal recantation, 
pubhcly to revoke all the falsehoods he had recorded in that work ; and for that 
pui'pose, as I am credibly informed, a wi-iting was drawn up, in order to bo 
printed in Ireland, and laid before the world ; but if it was ever pubhshed, I 
^^•ould never find a copy of it, and, therefore, am apt to believe that it was bv 
oome means or other utterly suppressed. If this recantation had seen the ligh':^ 
among infinite mistakes that would have been corrected, his history, I am per- 
suaded, would have been purged of this ignorant blunder, where he says that 
the Irish when they are fighting cry out, Pharo, Pharo, Pharo, which word, with 
great stupidity, he imagines, is derived from Pharaoh, king of Egypt ; whereas 
the word is the same mth Faire, Faire, which in the English signifies Watch, 
Watch, and imports as much as is intended by the French, who cry out Garda, 
Garda, when they apprehend their friend, whom they value, is in imminent; 

Doctor Hanmcr likewise, in his chronicle, has been guilty of great mistake;:. 
He asserts that one Bartolinus was the commander of the Milesians when the-' 
first came into Ireland. Partholanus is the name he means in this place ; and 
it is evident by the Irish chronicles that there was more than the distance of 
700 years between the coming of Partholanus and the landing of the Milesians 
an Ireland. Partholanus discovered the coasts 300 years after Noah's flood, and 
it was 1080 years after the Flood when the sons of Milesius set foot upon the 
Irish shore. And, as the great Camden justly obsei-ves, more regard is to be 
paid to the old records of the kingdom than to the testimony of Hanmer, whose 
authority is far from being infallible. " Detur sua antiquitate venia," was the 
saying of that learned antiquary, whose ojnnion it was, that the antiquities of 
Ireland are much more valuable, and of more authority, than those of any other 
nation in the world. When he speaks of Ireland, in his Britannia, he has this 
expression :* " This island was not without reason called the ancient Ogygia by 
Plutarch ;" and the reason he gives is,f "for they begin their histories from tlu! 
most profound memory of antiquity, so that the antiquity of all other nation; , 
in respect of them, is mere novelty." From whence it may be reasonably con- 
chided that the public chronicles of Ireland are of uncontested authority, and 
sufficient to overthrow the testimony of Ilamner, or any modern writer what- 

Ihere are some writers who expressly assert that Froto, king of DenmaviC, 
was king of Ireland at the time when Christ was bom ; and among the rest 
Hanmer gives into this opmion. But this assertion has no fomidation, for tiie 
ancient records of the kingdom observe that Criomthan Niadhnar was the mon- 
arch of the island at the birth of Christ ; and Hanmer, who was an English- 
man, and never saw nor understood the chronicles of Ireland, could never know 
v/hat particular prince had the sovereignty of the island at that time ; and no 
wonder, when it was out of his power to discover who was the king of Britain 
at so great a distance of time as the birth of Christ. Daniel, Gildas, Rider, and 
many other authors, who have attempted to write the history of Britain, con- 
fess that they can come to no certainty concerning the transactions of that king- 

* Kon immerito h£ec insula O^ytiia pem;.f:iqua a Plntarclio dicta fait, 
t A profundissima enim antiquimtis meinoria liistovias suas auspicantur, aaco ut pr< 
"lii oiuniB omnium gentium imtiq^uitas sit novitas. 


d.jta before the arrival of the Saxons and Normans ; which gave occasion to the 
learaed Camden to observe, that he could not absolutely determine so much a3 
from whence the country of Britain received its name, and therefore is contentud 
to. give us his conjecture among other writers. Fi'om hence I infer, that if 
Ilanmer, and other English historians, found it impossible to discover who 
reigned in the kingdom of Britain at the distance of so many ages as the birth 
(,t Christ, it is presumption and ignorance in him to assume a right of asserting, 
positively, that Froto, the king of Denmark, was the monarch of Ireland when 
our Saviour lirst appeared in the world: it was impossible for him to arrive at 
any knowledge of the Irish affairs, and therefore what he says is no more tha^i 
conjecture, and Ins authority of no account. 

Nor is this writer to be less censured, for declaring, that St. Patrick had no 
right to be called the Irish apostle ; that he was not the first who planted tha 
Christian faith in {lie kingdom of Ireland, neither was he the first who dis- 
covered St. Patrick's cave in the island of purgatory. These actions he igno^ 
rantly ascribes to another Patrick, an abbot, who lived in the year of Christ, 
850. But there is no foundation in truth for this assertion ; and to prove this, 
the words of St. Ciiesarius, who lived 600 years after the birth of Christ, ami 
150 before Patrick the abbot v/as born, are of great consequence : this autin)^ 
in the thirty-eighth chapter of his book, entitled, Liber Dialogorum, has tins 
expression ;* " Whoever doubts of purgatory, let him go to Scotland, and ha 
will no longer question the pains of purgatcrj'-." From hence it evidently ap- 
pears that St. Patrick's cave, in the island of purgatory, could not be originally^ 
uiscovered by the abbot above mentioned, but by St. Patrick, who is jusiiy 
called the apostle of the Irish ; for to say otherwise would be to confess, tha t 
Patrick the abbot found this cave 250 years before he was born ; since it ia 
evident, that Cfesarius speaks expressly of Patrick's purgatory 250 years belbra 
that abbot lived, and, consequently, that cave received its name from fet. 
-Patrick, the apostle of the Irish. Besides the ancient records and traditions of 
the kingdom agree unanimously, that St. Patrick, originally found out the cav(; 
in the island of purgatory, which is authority of sufiicient weight to overru!;o 
the opinion of Hanmer, who, from his aversion to the Irish, advanced this false- 
hood, and that the Irish might have the least title to favour in diat cave. 

Another observation of equal credit is made by this author Vi his twenty- 
fourth page, where ho declares, that Fionn Mac Cumhaill was originally of 
British extraction. In this assertion he is opposed by the ancient records of 
Ireland, which pronounce him of Iiish descent ; that he came from NuadhaNeacht, 
king of Leinster, who sprang from the royal line of Heremon, son of Milesiu'^, 
king of Spain.^ With the same falsehoodhe asserts, that the Irish authors maki 
mention of one Giollamarra, that Avas king of Ireland, who he says was son to 
the king of Thumond. I shall content myself with what has been already said 
with regard to this fiction, and take no further notice of it, since it carries hi 
own confutation. The account he gives, in his chronicles, of the battle of Fiona 
Iragha, I suppose was designed to ridicule the authority of the Irish record?', 
and to persuade the world that their testimony ought to be esteemed of no 
weight, since it is evident to the meanest capacity, that the battle of Fionn 
Tragha, though it be related in some of the chronicles of Ireland, yet is no 
more than a poetical fiction, designed to entertain and divert the reader, and not 
related as a matter of fact ; which answer is sufiicient to destroy the credit of 
what he m; rites of some other transactions which lie has recorded, particularly 
what he apeaks of Fiana Eirionn, &c 

* Qui (,1i pnrgnt.oilo dubifat Scolir-m pcvgii et a;::; lius Ue p'jeais purjntorii nontUibl- 


rRE.icK.CHesTNUT H/u. mII^^'^^-'' 

Among other notari jus falsehoods of this author, he assorts, that Slainge, the 
sou of Dela, thssoa of Loich, was kin^j of Iralaad thirt}'- years ; but this is con- 
tradicted by our autheatic chronicles, which determine that one year was tho 
A\ hole extent of his reign. Nor is he to be believed, when he declares that the 
archbishop of Canterbury exercised a jurisdiction over the clergy of Ireland, 
from the time of Augustine the monk ; since Ihe chronicles of Ireland observe 
expressly, that the archbishop of Canterbury never claimed any authority over 
the Irish clergy till the reign of William the Conqueror ; and even then he did 
not pretend to a power that extended farther than the clergy of Dublii), Wer- 
ford; Waterford, and Cork, who descended originally from the Danes, and Avere 
called Normans, from their affection to the people of Normandy, and put them- 
selves under the jurisdiction of the ai'chbishop of Canterbury, out of an inflexible 
aversion to the Iri--h, and to introduce a foreign power among them. Besides, 
there is good authority to believe that that part of the cler^cy acknowledged no 
sub'ection to the see of Canterbury, but during the government of three arch- 
blsiDps, Rodolph, Lanfranc, and Anselm : so that what Hanmer advances in 
this place, that the Irish clergy were un:ler the archie^iiscopal see of Canterbury, 
from the time of Augustine the monk, is a falsehood as ignorant as malicious, 
and deserves no credi 

Nor is he to be beUeved, when he writes that Morough, the son of Coghlaa, 
v/as king of Ireland in the year of our redemption lOtiO ; for it is evident beyond 
denial, that Roderick O'Connor was the monarch of the island at that time, 
which was four years before the English landed upon the coasts. He likewise 
asserts that Comhghall, the abbot of Beannchuir, was born in Great Britain, 
wliich is entirely a hction of his own ; for it appears, in the account of his life, 
that he was born at a place, in the province of Ulster, called Dail na Ruighe, 
and that he descended from the family of the Dail na Ruighes in that country : 
but this writer had a design in making this abbot of British extraction, which 
mu'st be detected ; for it must be observed, that the pious Comhghall was the 
founder of the abbey of Beaoncliuir, in the province of Ulster, which was the 
mother of all the monasteries in Europe. The same religious person raised a 
monasteiy in Wales, near West Chester, called Bangor ; so thiit if this doughty 
historian could persuade the world, that Comhghall was of a British descent, 
whatever foundations he laid, and structures he erected, would contribute to the 
glory of the English nation, and the Irish would be fobbed of the honour of 
them. The same inveterate eaemy of the Irish asserts farther, that Farsa 
.Faolan, and Uitan, were illegitimate children of the king of Leinster ; but this is 
a malicious perversion of fact, for the chronicles of Ireland speak expressly, that 
th^y were the sons of Aodh Beanin, king of Munster. Were I to enumerate all 
the errors arising either from malice or ignorance, which Hanmer has committed 
in his chronicle, I should enlarge this preface to au improper length, and weary 
the patien(fe of the reader, who, by these instazices, may judge of tiie capacity of 
this author, and his qua'.ihcations for an historian, anl'therefore I shall cease to 
pursue him any farther. 

John Barclay, speaking of the country of Ireland, has these words :* " They 
build slight houses of the height of a man, which are in common for tiiemselves 
and their cattle." But this writer imitates the sordid disposition of the beetle, 
who stoops to excrements for his diet, and neglects the fragrant flowers, and a 
more deUcate nourishment. In like manner Barclay describes the mean and con- 
temptible abodes of the lowest of people, and passes over in silence the stately 
palaces, and magniticent structures, erected from time to time by the nobiUty 
and gentry of Ireland, equal to, if not surpassing, in grandeur and expense, the 

« i'rtigiles do.n'03 adaltitu.iiaa.n ho.mnis escitant sifti et pecoribus comrQuaea. 


most costly and splendid fabrics of the iieiglibouring naticns. This partiality is 
suificient to overthrow the testimony of this author, among learned judges, and 
to invalidate his evidence, wlien he attempts to derive a scandal and reproach 
upon the state and magnificence of the ancient Irish, 

Morison has given himsrelf wonderful diversion, and fancies he delightfully en- 
tertains his reader, by writing in a ludicrous manner of the customs and man- 
ners of the Irish ; but notwithstanding his fluency of style in the English lau- 
^age, his pen contradicted his knowledge, and he was sensible, that under a 
humorous way of expressing he disguised the truth, and imposed fables in the 
room of it. Such a writer is not worthy the name of an historian, who attempts 
to give an account of the inhabitants of any country, and yet conceals whatever 
is praiseworthy and honourable relating to them ; and with the most abusi^'e 
partiahty records only what gives them a mean and despicable character, and 
tends to reproach and lessen them in the eyes of posterity. This author had 
conceived the utmost prejudice, and a most cordial detestation of the Irish, and 
was urged on to write by professed enemies to the glory of that nation ; and 
therefore it is not to be wondered that he describes them, as abase and contemp- 
tible people. It were an easy matter, were it consistent with the rules of true 
history, to rake among the di-egs of any nation, and enlarge upon the rudeness 
and incivihties of their manners ; but this is not the business of an historian^ who 
sinks beneath his proper character, when he stoops to such low arts, and prosti- 
tutes his pen upon so insignificant a subject. Take a survey of the obstinate 
and unruly temper of the common people in Scotland, the ungoveraable disposi- 
tion of the English populace, the proud and insolent peasants in France, and 
the lordly mechanics of Flanders, the vanity and pride of a poor Spaniard, and 
boorishness of the Germans ; go into Italy, and inquire into the most learned 
and polite parts of Europe, and it would swell volumes to describe the rude man- 
ners and customs of the meaner sort, though it is below the dignity of an histo- 
rian to take notice of them, since it discovers tlie malice and partiality of the 
writer, and tends rather to corrupt than to improve mankind. Whoever 
attempts to treat in general of the manners of a country, and describes only the 
cUsposition of the uncivihzed populace, without giving an accoimt of the nobility 
(ind gentry, ought not to retain the name of an historian, but of a libeller and 
pamphleteer, who conceals the truth, to oblige the party that employ him, 
which was the case of Morison, Campion, and some others. 

Nor is the learned Camden free from the imputation of partiality, when he 
Bpeaks of the inhabitants of Ireland. He asserts, that it is a custom in that 
country, that the priests, with their wives and childr-en, have their dwelling 
in the churches consecrated to divine use, where they feast, and riot, and play 
upon music ; by which means those holy places are desecrated, and used to 
profane purposes. In answer to this charge, it must be observed, that this 
in-eligious custom was introduced after the reformation, by Henry *r^lIL king 
of England ; nor has it been practised for many ages, but in the most unci- 
vilized part of the kingdom, and by a sort of clergy, who pretend to be exempt 
from the authority of ecclesiastical superiors, and placed beyond the reach of church 
discipline. Giraldus Cambrensis has given a satisfactciy account of the piety 
and devotion of the Irish clergy, and sufficiently refutes this falsehood of Cam- 
den. The expression he makes use of is this :* " If any dedicate themselves 
to religion, they govern themselves with a religious austerity, in watching 
and praying, and mortifying themselves by fasting." And the same author, 
in his twenty-seventh chapter, speaking particularly of the Irish clergj'', givea 

• 8i qui relipioni se consecrant, reiigiosa qaadani austeritate se continent, vigilando, 
oraurta, et jejuniis se inauarando. 

■ I'BEFACE. Xxix 

them tlis character ;* " The cleray are safiicieHtly commendable for iLeir reli- 
gion, unci, iJinong ether \'irtues that are perspicuotis in them, their chastity is 
most eminently tligtingnished." From -Rhence the partiality of Camden ap- 
pears, hy charging the whole body of the Irish clergy- with that indecent and 
1 rofane custom. Stanihurst, who was never partial in favour of the Irish, has 
this expression in his histoiy of Ireland, written in the year 1584 ;t "The peo- 
]>le of Ireland, for the most part, are of a very religions disposition ;" so that 
this practice could not be justly charged upon, the clergy^ of Ireland, but upon 
such of them as denied the authority of their supericrs. and indulged tbemsehes 
in many rude and unjustifiable actions, without control or restraint. 

This English anticpiary asserts farther, that the people of Ireland made no a& 
count of matrimony, except such as lived in cities, and in the civilized part of 
the kingdom. This is an. accusation, not only false and invidious, and highly- 
reflecting upon the nobility and gentry, who are natives of the island, but upon 
the English, who have settled and obtained possessions in the country. I con- 
fess, indeed, that scm^e of the meaner sort are of a wild and untractable nature ; 
and, like the populace in all parts of the world, are ungovernable in their a];>pe- 
tites, and not to be restrained by any laws, either civil or ecclesiastical. It is an 
mipardonable instance of partiality, therefore, in Cam.den, to condemn the whole 
body of the Irish nobility and gentiy, who live in the coimtiy, remote from towns 
snd cities, as if they AviicCy followed the rides of lust, without any rcsjiect to ma- 
trimonial contracts ; since it is evident, that a few only of the baser sort are 
guilty of this abominable practice, and indulge themselves in such bestial liberties. 
It is barbarity for a whole nation to be aspersed for the guilt of a lew, and those 
the veiy dregs of the peopl-e. 1 pay a great respect in ctber cases to the memoiy 
of Camden, and confess the value of his writings, but I cannot acquit him of 
piejudice, in laying this savage custom to the whole nation of Ireland, who are, 
generally speaking, a polite and virtuous people, and just to their matrimonial 
engagements ; and desers^e not to sufi'er. for the sake of a few, who, like the vulgar 
in all countries, allow themselves unchristian freedoms, and fly in the face of the 
laws which attempt to correct them. With regard to what is charged upon the 
Irish by other v. riters, that they very religiously cbserv^e their matrimonial con- 
tracts for the space of a year, and think they may lawfully dissolve them, it is. 
sutiicient to reply, that this opinion prcAailed only among the nide and xmpolished 
jart of the people, who despised the disciplme of the Churcli, and denied the au- 
thority of their ecclesiastical superiors. 

Campion, in the sixth chapter of the first bcok of his luster}^, with great in- 
justice remarks upon the Irish, that they are so weak in their judgments, as to 
bdieve implicitly whatever is declared to them by their spuitual guides, whom 
they obey without reserve, and who have it in their power to impose upon and 
lead them which way they please ; and to support this charge he relates a fabu- 
kus story to this effect. "There was," says he, " a very covetous prelate in 
Ireland, who had the art to impose upon his people, and make them believe what- 
ever he pleased, however monstrous and incredible. This bishop, upon a time, 
V, anted a sum of money, and in order to obtain it from his congregation, he teUs 
tbem, that some years ago St. Patrick and St. Peter had a very violent contest 
about an Irish Golloglach, that St. 1 atrick designed to introduce into heaven ;, 
but St. Peter opposed him, jftid in his passion struck' St. Patrick with his key, 
ar.d broke his head, so that he desired their contribution : by which means the 
jjcople were prevailed utgn to part with theii money, :*nd the bishop obtained liia 

♦ Fst aiitem clerus satis relidoTie comrnenclatjiis, et inter varias quibus pralucet virtu- 
tofi, < f.M'itas \ rarcgativa i if. < niiiitl. 
t ilibs^niic: ttiam ma^ua rx pu-iu; sunt religionis smurue toieiiiCK. 

pr-rp'>5«" Tlr"s is tl\3 f^tory re' ile I In- Ua !i;)iou, who, like ai u.Jtar upon Cd 
ill. J,, iirtposoj Lii)ou the worlcl vviiu tictions that coakL not possibly have anv fc.iir.- 
clacioi! ill nature. For can it be supposed, that a Christian of the meanest ciipa- 
( ity v/oulcl believe, that St. Patrick, v/ho died above a thousand years ago, and 
Sr. L'eter, shnuld q.uarrel and come to blovfs, and that St. Patrick should havo 
Ills head broke with St. Peter's key ; as if the key hid been made of iron, which 
e\'ery \yody knows to be n )thln'^ material, but iuipUes only a power of binding 
auii lo-osing ? Besides, thid fa!)ulous writer, to show his accomplishmerits, con- 
fesses, in his epistle prefixed, that he spent but ten weeks in compiling his history 
i)f Ireland; which is sufficient to convince impartial judges of the merits of hid 
peri'ormance, and how impossible it was in so short a time to provide mattei for 
t!ie work ; or if the materials were ready to his hand, to dispose themiinto method 
iiiid form, and to judge of the ttuth of facts, which in Ms liurry he wrote at all 
a-lveutures, and insolently calls his book tlie History of Ireland. 

There was an English priest, wiiose name was Good, that taught a school iu 
Lirnerick, in the year of Christ 156(5, and upon the strictest survey and inrpiiry 
gives this account of the people of Ireland.* " They are a people robust and 
of great agility of body, of a stout and magntinimous disposition, of a sharp 
and warlike genius, prodigal of fife, patient of labour, of cold, and of hunger, 
:>f an amorous inclination, exceeding kind and hospitable to strangers, constant 
m their love, implacable to their enemies, easy to believe, impatient of reproach 
and injury." And Stanihurst gives them the following character :f " In labours 
t;ie inost patient of jriaakind, and seldom despairing under the greatest diifioul- 

One John Davis, an English author, takes apon him to censure the laws and 
usages of Ireland, particularly he rernatks how unjust the customs are, that the 
brother of a deceased person should succeed in the inheritance of the estate 
bef )re the son ; that the estate of & favnily should be divided equally among the 
brothers, and chat the law will accept of a satisfaction in money and cattle from 
the murderer when a person is Idlled. In answer to the complaint of this writer, 
it must be observed, that the laws and customs of countries generally diifer, and 
are variable in their own nature, as the exigency of aftairs requires ; and like- 
wise that these three customs were not originally admitted into the body of Irisii 
laws, but were introduced when the natives fell into civil dissensions among them- 
solves in every part of the kingdom, so that they were killing and plundering 
one another, with the utmost cruelty, without mercy or distinction ; for which 
reason, the nobiUty and gentry of the island, who were best acquainted with the 
Irish laws and constitutions, wisely considered what fatal consequences might 
follow, and with great prudence thought fit to establish the three customs above- 
mentioned. First, they thought proper tliat the estate should descend to thi 
brother, in order that every family might be supplied with an able and expe- 
rienced commander, to defend them and lead thenx into the field : for if the sua 
^v•a;^ to succeed in the command of his (h'ceased father, it must sometimes una- 
v'Jda!)!y happen, that he will be an infant, or of too raw years to defend the 
family from the attemjits of then- enemies. Secondly, the custom of dividing 
estates among the brothers could not well he avoided in Ireland, for otherwise 
the rent of every country would be insufiicient to pay the number of soldie) i 
tiiat was necessary for its defence; but when the lands were divided, the^brotticr 
who had the least lot, would be as able to defend his count/'lj'' as the chieftain 

* Gens hrec corpoi-e valida, efc iraprirais a^ilis, animo fortis, et elata, mgenio acris et 
l)!'ilicosa, vitae prodiga, iaboris et frigoris efc inediae patieiis venori iudulgens hospitibas, pei'- 
h ii'saa, ti'.nore constims, inimico hnplacabilis, credulitaLe levis, coutumeUa et iajurue iiu- 


1 iulaboris ex omni hominum generc patieatiisimi, in ronnn aiiyuitiis raro fratti. 

himself : and thirdly, it was necessary that money or cattle should be adnuitcd, 
iia satisfaction for a person killed ; becauj.*; if the murderer could find means to 
escape into the next country, he avoided tlie hands of justice, and it was impos- 
sible to punish him ; and therefore the law ordained, that the friends of the 
deceased should receive satisfaction from the relations of the murderer, which was 
a sum of money, or a number of cattle ; for it would have been injustice, if the 
relations, who were not accessary to the fact, should answer it with their lives, 
if the principal was not to be found. So that it was not candid in Davis to 
reflect upon the Irish laws for those customs ; the two former of which the Irish 
constitution could not possibly subsist without, and they were absolutely neces- 
sary to the support of the public peace ; the last, ! am informed, is now practised 
in England, and therefore Davis might have looked at home, and first have re- 
formed the laws of his own country, before he attemped to censure and reflect 
upon the inoffensive customs of the Irish. 

The learned Camden, whUe he writes of Ireland, has this expression :* "These 
noblemen have their la^vvyers, whom they call Brehons ; their historians, who 
describe their exploits ; their physicians, their poets, whom they call bards, and 
musicians, and all of a certain and several family ; that is, the Brehons are of 
one tribe and name, their historians of another, and so of the rest, who instruct 
their children and relations in their several arts and professions ; and they ara 
always their successors, to whom they leave the estates and revenues assigned 
them." From this testimony of Camden it appears, that the Irish mstituted a 
proper method to preserve and improve the liberal arts and sciences ; for they 
appointed a suitable maintenance and provision for every person, who excelled 
in the art which he particularly professed ; and the artist so distinguished, had 
authority and jui-isdiction over the several members of the same art or profes 
sion, and was principally esteemed, and more honom-ably provided for by thg 
patron that retained lum. So that these Sctlaries and revenues, being settled upon 
the learned professors, occasioned an emulation, and pi-ovoked the industry of all 
the youth in the kingdom ; who, encouraged by the rewards annexed, endea- 
voured with the iitmost application to arrive at perfection in their several studies. 
And this establishment among the Irish, preserved the state of learning and art 
in a flourishing condition ; insomuch, that the neighbouring nations were sup- 
plied with professors from thence, who instructed the youth, and propagated 
their knowledge over the greatest part of the western world. And the nobiUtf 
and gentry of Ireland did not only confer a handsome maintenance and support 
upon their learned j?rofessoi-s, but it was established by the laws, that the land- 
and patrimonies belonging to them should be esteemed sacred, and not to be 
vii)lated, and they were allowed as a refuge and asylum to all who fled thithet 
fir sanctuar5\ So that when many fierce wars fell out between the English and 
Irish, the learned and their scholars were exempt from plundei' and military 
executions, and never felt the calamities of war. 

Wlioever reads the sixth chapter of the sixth book of the Comnw^ntarips 
of Julius Csesar, will 'find, that their sages and men of learning, Avho went 
frnm other parts of Europe to teach in France, were indulged in the same 
jrivOeges, which perhaps were originally copied from the practice of the Irish. 
This introduction would be too tedious and prolix, should I particularly reflect 
upon all the malicious and ignorant falsehoods related by PJnglish writers, in 
what they call their histories of Ireland ; for most of them are so monstrous 

* TTnhent enim hi macrnfites suos juriclicos quos Brehones vocant; suos historicos qiil 
"s Kestas describunt; medicos, poetas, quos barrios vocant, et cirharasdos, efc certae ct sm- 
rulae fainilise; scilicet, Brehoni unius stirpi.s et nominis, historici alterius. et sic de cxteris, 
;;■!! anosliberos, sive cognates, in sua qualibet arte erudiiuit; et semper successorcs Iiabeat 
qribns singulis sua Drredia assignata sunt. 

diui i-jcreuible, that they cany vrith t'lem their own c:):)f!itatlon.; and 
ought farther to he considered, that whatever these writers dehver, in di'Spraisf- 
of "the Irish nation, has no other authority, than the bare relation of persons, 
who bors an inflexible hatred to the Irish name, and were ignorant of the 
transactions of that kingdom, by reason of their unskilfulness in the language, 
and by consequence must unavoidably be mistaken, and impose fal*ph>')(.la 
upon the world 

Camden, who bears the principal character amf)ng these historians, ii ;• 
very blind Information to support what he observes of the affairs of Irelariiv 
He has not taken tlie least notice of the conquest of the Tuatlia cle Danaui, 
who held the sovereignty of the island 197 years; and en-oneously fixes 
the first invasion of Ireland to be that of Caesar, which the public chroniclea 
of the kingdom never mention under the name of comjuest, thougli they 
give a particular account of it : so tliat the design of this English antiquary 
could be no less than to throw a blemish upon the Irish, both ancient and mo- 
dern. Besides, it must be observed, that this writer had but a very shor 
time to search mto the chronicles of Ireland ; he continued in the country 
but the space of a year and a half, and then returned to England: his hh- 
tor}'-, when he left Ireland, was so far from being finished, that a year Avoidd 
not serve to complete it, and he was obliged to leave it to the care of h'n 
companion, whose name wis Bertram Verdon, who was as unacquainted wit'i 
the genuine chronicles of Ireland as himself. Upon the wh >le, it is left to all 
impartial judges to consider, whether I have unjustly censured Cambrensis, an i 
the English authors, who followed his steps, and copied his falsehoods ; and i > 
pronounce impartially, whether my history does not stand upon a bettei' foot o'" 
credit, than any relations of theirs, which they received only by tradition, an I 
recorded upon that authority only. And it cannot be improper upon this occa- 
sion, to observe, that, with regard to myself, I am a person of an advanced age, 
and have acquired a more valuable experience, by understanding tjie public 
chronicles and ancient authors in their original language, than they (being of 
other countries, of minor years, and not having time to digest, or capacity to 
understand the ancient records) could possibly arrive at. It Is not from a prin- 
ciple of love or aversion, nor that I am moved by the importunity of friends, or 
the strong influence of rewards, that I undertook to wi'ite the following history 
of Ireland, but was urged on by reflecting, that so noble a country as the king 
dora of Ireland, and so worthy and generous a people wha possessed it, oui^ht 
not to be abused by fabulous relations, or have their memories buried in obli- 
vion, without being transmitted, and the antiquity and names of the inhabi- 
tants recorded with honour to posterity ; and I humbly conceive that my 
liistory shoaid the rather take place, because I trace the antiqixity of the Irish 
mach higher, and with better authority than other writers, and give a particular 
account of the most ancient Irish, the Gadelians : and if any one should suppose 
that I bestow too large encomiums upon that brave and illustrious tribe, or speak 
Ynth partiality of their exploits, let it be considered that I have no temptation 
to be unjust, being myself originally of an English extraction, 

I have observed, that every modern historian, who has undertaken to -wTite of 
Ireland, commends the country, but despises the people ; which so far raised my 
resentment and indignation, that I set out in this untrodden path, and resolved 
to "indicate so brave a people from such scandalous abuses, by searching into 
original records, and from thence compiling a true and impartial* history. It 
gTieved me to see a nation hunted down by ignorance and malice, and recorded 
as the scum and refuse of mankind, when upon a strict inquiry they have made 
AS good a figure, and have signalised themselves in as commendable a manner 
to posterity, as any people in i'Lui-opa Tiie valour and unshaken braveuy of the 

old Irish, and particularly their fixed constancy in tlie Clurfstlan religion, and 
the Catholic faith, ought to be honourably mentioned, as a proper standard and, 
example for ages that foUow. I have no occasion to speak particularly of tbe 
number of saints and holy persons that this island has produced, exceeding in 
proportion any country in Europe ; aU histories allow that Ireland wa^ the 
established seat of learning, that annually afforded numbers of professors, who 
were sent to cultivate and improve the neighbouring nations of France, Italy, 
Germany, Flanders, England and Scotland ; as appears abundantly from the 
preface before the book that treats of the lives of St. Patrick, Cojumba, and 
Bridget, that is written 'ui English. 

If it be objected, •'■tiat the chronicles of Ireland are liable to suspicion, and 
may be justly questioned, let it be observed in reply, that no people in the world 
took more care to preserve the authority of their public records, and to delive. 
them uncoiTupt to posterity. The chronicles of the kingdom ^vere solenmly 
purged and examined every three years, in the royal house of Tara, in the pre- 
sence of the nobility and clergy, and in a full assembly of the most learned and 
eminent antiquaries in the comitry : and to prove thi^ the undernamed books of 
the first note, that are to be seen at this day, are inaisputabie authorities : the 
book cf Ardmach, the Psalter of Cashd, written by the holy Cormac Mac Cuil- 
lenan, king of Munster ana archbishop of Cashel ; the book entitled Leabhar 
na huachhugabhala ; the book called Leabhar chluana liifmach, Psalter na rann, 
Leabhar glindaloch, Leabhar nagceart, written by St. Beningus ; Yighir chia- 
rain, written in Cluain mac naios ; Leabhar bnidhe, or The yellow book of 
JMoling ; the black book of Molaige, and Fionntan a 'laoghis. The particular 
titles and contents of many ancient books are as follow : Leabhar gabhala, signi- 
fied, The book of conquests; Eehabharna geoigeadh. The book of provincial- 
iSts ; Reim riogradh, otherwise called The roll of the kings ; The book of ages, 
tlie book called Leabhar comhsiorgachta, or An accoimt of the people who lived 
in the same age ; The book of antiquity, the book caUed Coranmach, or of 
Etymologies ; the book called Uracept, that was written by the leared Cionn 
Fola ; the book called The \asions of Columba, written by Dalian ForguiU, 
soon after the death of that saint ; An account "why the woods, the hills, the 
rivers and lakes in the kingdom, were distinguished by the names tbev bear, 
The pedigi-ees of women, and many others 

The treatises that are to be seen at this day' In the Irish language, contain 
particular relations of all the memorable battles and transactions that happened 
in Ireland from the first accovmt of time, and give an account of the genealo- 
gies of the principal families in the island ; an d the authority of these public 
records cannot be questioned, when it is consid ered that there were above two 
hundred chroniclers and antiquaries, whose busi ness was to preserve and record 
ell actions and affairs of consequence relating to the public ; they had reveni;ea 
and salaries settled upon them for their maintenaj\ce, and to support the dignity 
cf their character ; their annals ?nd histories werp. submitted to the examination 
and censure of the nobility, clergj- and gentiy, who wece most eminent for learn- 
ing, and assembled for that veiy purpose, which is evfdence sufficient to evince 
their authority, and to procure them, upon the account of what has been men- 
tioned, a superior esteem to the antiquities of any o ther nation, except the 
Jewish, throughout the world. 

^'or are we to omit in this place to observe, that the chronicles of Ireland re- 
ceive an additional value from this consideration, that they were never suppressed 
by the tyranny and mvasion of any foreign power; for tiioikb the, Danes occa- 
sioned great troubles in the kingdom of Ireland for many age- yet the number 
of these pvxblic registerers, whose office was to enter upon rei ord the affairs of 
the kingdom, were so many, that the Danes could not possil y destroy them 

all, though it must be confessed that some of the chronicles of those times did 
actaally perish. No other country in Europe, that I kaow of, can justly boadt 
of the same advantage ; for though the Romans, the Gauls, the Goths, Saxons, 
Saracens, Moors and Danes generally were careful to sappress tlie public records 
in their respective incursions, yet it was impossible that the antiquities of Ireland 
should be involved in the same fate, because copies of them were lodged in bo 
many hands, and there Avcre so many antiquai'ies to take care of them. And 
this Gambrensis, in his forty-sixth chapter sufficiently confirms ; his words are,* 
" Ireland, from the beginning, was free from the incursions of other nations ;" 
by which is intended, that Ireland was never so far mider the yoke of any foreign 
power, as to confess itself conquered, or that the public antiquities of the king- 
d)m were suppressed, wliich is a privilege that no other nation in Europe can 
nistly pretend to 

I have taken the liberty, in the following history, upon good grounds, to 
change the number of years that are applied to the reigns of some of the pagan 
Irish kings, and have varied from the account I have met with in some of tJie 
annals of the kingdom ; and the reason is, because I cannot reconcile the time 
allotted them, to any chroiPology since the creation to the birth of Christ ; 
besides, there must be mistakes which no history can consist with, particularly 
with regard to the reign of Siorna Saogalach, who, if we are directed by the 
ancient annals of the kings, reigned monarch of the island 250 years. The 
chi-onicles as'sert, that Siorna when he began to reign, was fifty years old : so 
that if I had relied wholly upon the authority of the old records, this king would 
liave lived 300 years, which is utterly incredible ; for this reason I thought it 
proper to allow him a reign of twenty-one years, which I collected from an old 
verse, that expressly declares 'his reign to be of no longer a date. Cobhthach 
CaolmOreac is said, in the ancient records, to be Idng of Ireland fifty years, 
yet it is impossible reasonably to allow hhn any more than thirty ; for it mu?t 
he considered, that Moriat, the daughter of Scoriat, king of Concaduibhne, fell 
in love v/ith Maoine, otherwise called Lab.ira Loingseach, a youth and a stranger 
that was entertained in her father's house : she was at that time very young, 
and after she was married she bore him many children; so that if the length 
of fifty years was properly the reign of Cobhthach, it would follow that Moriat 
Was sixty years of age when she bore those children to Labhra Loingseach, 
^vhich is scarcely possible to suppose ; for which reason the reign of Cobhthach 
must be shortened, and reduced to the space of thirty years. For other reasons, 
of equal force Avith these mentioned, I have changed the date of the reign 
of some other kings in the times of paganism, but I rnay venture to acquit 
the public antiquaries and original chronicles from being blamed for these mis . 
takes: they certainly are wth greater justice to be imputed to the ignorance 
of some transcribers, who 'copied their works, and were incapable to mend 
those defects. 

It must be lamented, that the Irish, since the Englisn got possession of 
the kingdom, have omitted the ancient and laudable custom of purgmg and 
examining into their chronicles ; and the reason seems to be because the pub- 
lic antiquaries and historians desisted from their employments, their privileges 
being destroyed, and their estates seized and alienated, so that there was no 
encoviragement for men. of learning to pursue their studies, oi a competeu*' 
maintenance to support them. The nobihty and gentrv' of the kingdom Avith 
drew their contributions, and there arose so many violent quaiTels and dis- 
j>utes among the Irish and English, that the kingdom was often ir. confli- 
siuji, and so embroiled, that the antiquaries had neither encouragement hv* 
protection to carry on the business of their profession. 

* llibernia ab initio ab omni aliennriim gentiiim iiicursu ijoena p<;ruia.naas. 


It TV-ill not seem strange that the chronology in the following historj'- may in 
some cases be imperfect and defective, if it be observed what disagreement tliero 
is among authors, in their computation of time from Adam to the birth of 
Chi-ist, insomuch, that the most learned chronologers in the world have diflcred in 
their accoinits, as will abundantly appear by taking a survey of some of th 
most distingiushed in that study, who are as follow : — 

Amongst the Hebrews. Amongst the Greeks. Amongst the Latins. 


Paul Sedecholin counts, 3518 Metrodorus i^ 5000 St. Hierom 394 

The Talmundistes 37S4 Eusebius .5199 St. Aut;ustin 53;.l 

The new Rabbins S760 Theophilus 5476 Isidorus 527') 

T^abbi Naasson 3740 Orosius 5190 

Rabbi Moses Germidist, 4580 Beda 3952 

Jobephus 4192 Alphonsus, 59«4 

These are axithors of principal note for chronological computations, and it ia 
easy to observe the notorious variations there are in their several accounts, so 
that it is not to be wondered at, if the Irish chronicles differ in that point : yet, 
were I to decide this controversy, I think it would be the most plausible stan- 
dard to allow 4052 years between Adam ard the birth of Christ. My desigr., 
therefore; is to follow the computation that comes nearest to the account I have 
mentioned, with regard to the reign of the Irish monarchs, petty princes, and 
chieftains of the island, and the public concerns and transactions of the kingdom. 

If it should seem surprising, that the following history is diversified with s;) 
many quotations out of ancient poetry, to prove several matters of fact advanced, 
and to adjust the chronology of the Irish history ; it must be considered, parti- 
cularly, that the authors of the Irish chronicles composed their work generally 
in verse^ that their records might be the less subject to coiTuption and change, 
that the obscurity of the style might be a defence to them, and that tiie youths, 
who were instructed in that profession, might be the better able to commit thenx 
to memoiy. The Irish compositions in verse, or dann, that were of principal 
note, were called in the Irish language Psalter na Teamhrach, which was always 
preserved in the custody of the chief antiquaries of the kings of Ireland ; the 
Psalter of Cashel was written by Comiac Mac Cuilleanan ; and as the word 
psalm in English, and dnain or dann in the Irish, are of the same signification, 
so a psalter (in Latin psalterium) is a book that contains many particidar 
poems ; and since most of the authentic records of Ireland are composed in dann, 
or in verse, I shall receive them as the principal testimonies to consult in com- 
piling the following histoiy : for notwithstanding that some of the chronicles of 
Ireland difter from those poetical records in some cases, yet the testimonj^ of the 
•annals that were written in verse, is not for that reason invalid, because all the 
pubhc chronicles, as well in verse as in prose, were submitted to a solemn correc- 
tion and purgation, and therefore it is reasonable they should be esteemed e t 
equal authority. 

I have often heard it pronounced impossible, that the genealogy^ of anj- person 
coidd be lineally traced so high as Adam; but this seeming difrlcidty -Kill 
vanish, by observing tliat it was easy for the Irish to keep exact pedigrees from 
the time of Gadelas. The Irish were furnished with a learned body of men, 
called druids or soothsayers, whose peculiar oflice it Vfas to take a strict account 
of the several genealogies, and to record the most memorable transactions that 
Iiappened in the kingdom ; it will appear by the course of this histor}-, that 
these priests or druids were sufficiently accomplished for this business; pj^rticu- 
larl}- that Niu3, the father of Gadelas, obtained all his riches and honour upon 
the account of his learning and exquisite art, from whom were derived, not oiii;,' 


the streams of learning and knowledge, but a sufficient skill to adjust the pedi- 
grees of families, and to transmit them uncorrupt to after ages. 

I shall instance in this place, an example taken from a Welsh author, whose 
name was Asherus, where he gives the pedigi-ee of one of the kings of Britain, 
and traces it as high as Adam, which I mention as an evidence of the possibility 
of the thing, and to take off the wonder how the Irish could be masters of such 
an art, or depend upon the certainty of it. 

Elfred, the son of Neulrof, son of Egbert, son of Ethalmund, son of Ewan, son of 
Indild, son of Corenred, son of Ceulavald, son of Chatwin, son of Elianlera, son 
of Cinriff'e, son of Creda, son of Cerdy, son of Ellisa, son of John, son of Brond, 
son of Verdon, son of Frealde, son ff Frealse, son of Fradawoulfe, son of Cread, 
son of Cruturaz, son of Bean, son of Seldouin, son of Hewnoi*, son of Heremon, 
son of Hatra, son of Hinula, son of Berdatrius, son of Japliet, son of Noah. 

Upon the whole, I am persuaded, that whoever consults this history with 
candour, and with such proportion of allowance as seems dae to the obscure and 
unfrequented track I have pursued, may find satisfaction ; and if he will far- 
ther give himself the trouble of searching into the ancient chronicles of Ireland, 
lie will be convinced, that 1 have been just and faithful in the use I have made 
of them ; but if it should so mifortunately happen, that my labours should be 
despised and the following history be esteemed of uo value, I must confess, that 
it exceeded my abilities to give another account, for I did my best. I take my 
leave, therefore, and ask pardon of the reader, if I have in any case led him ou* 
of his way ; assuring him, that the mistake was not the effect of malice in me, 
but because 1 wanted skill to direct him better. 


J-i^j(L<: 2 ^sZ 




The first name of Ireland, which we meet with, was Inis na 
bhfiodhbhuidhe, which signifies a woody isle ; and was so called 
by a messenger, that was sent thither by Nion, the son of Pelus, 
to discover this isle, who, finding it all covered with wood, except 
the plain of Moynealta, gave it that name. This plain was so 
called from the number of fowl which came there to bask them- 
selves in the sun. It is now called Clountarffe ; where Brian Boi- 
romhe, monarch of Ireland, with his Irish army, gave the last 
total defeat to the Danes. This monarch, with one of his sons 
and grandsons, had the hard fate to be slain. The Irish, not- 
withstanding, gained a most signal victory ; and by it freed them- 
selves from the continual troubles and incursions of the Danish 
forces, as shall be hereafter mentioned. 

2. Ireland was also called Crioch na bhfuineadhach, which is to 
say, the neighbouring country, as it stood in the neighbourhood 
of one of the three parts of the world that was then inhabited. 

3. Its third name was Inis alga, that is, the noble island ; and 
this name they enjoyed in the time of the Firbolgs, an ancient 
colony of people, who were settled here before the Scythians or 
Gadelians, of whom, in the pursuit oi: this history, we shall take 
particular notice. 

4. The next name appropriated to tJiis island, was Eire, i. e., 
Ireland ; so called from the wortl vEria, a nafeie by which formerly 
Crete, now Candia, was called. Egypt from whence the Gadelians 
came, was called by that name : and the same author is of opinion, 
that the isle. of Crete was called /Eria, because the Gadelians re- 
mained there, after the time when Sru, the sou of Easru, with all 
the Gadelianp^ were banished out of Egypt. Most of the ancient 



authors, however, are of opinion, that it took the name of Eire, 
from a queen of the Tuatha de Danans, (a colony, so called from 
their great skill in necromancy, of whom some were so famous 
as to be styled gods,) whose name was Eire, and the wife of Mao 
Greine, who was king of this isle when the sous of Milesius first 
invaded it. 

o. Fodhla was the fifth name it received from another queen 
of the same colony, so called, who was the wife of Mac Ceacht. 

6. It was after this called Banba, from the »ame of a third 
queen of the same colony, who was wife to Mac Coill. These 
three queens were three sisters, and married to three brothers ; 
amongst whom there was an agreement, that each brother should 
alternatively take his year of government, and that, during tlie 
year of his reign, the isle should be called after the name of his 
queen. And if you find it more frequently called Eire than 
Fodhla "or Banba, it was by reason that the husband to queen 
Eire, from whom the island was called Ireland, happened to be 
king at the time it w£^s conquered by the sons of Milesius. 

7. From the colony of the Tuatha de Danans before mentioned 
it received, after this, the name of Inis fail j from a stone that 
was brought by them to Ireland, called Lia fail, and by some, 
the fatal stone. Hector Boethius, in his history of Scotland, 
calls it Saxum fatale. This was esteemed an enchanted stone, 
and in great veneration for its admirable virtue, which was, to 
make a terrible noise, resenibling thunder, to be heard at a great 
distance, when any of the royal race of the Scythians should seat 
themselves upon this stone to be crowned, as it was then the 
custom, upon the decease of the former king ; but, if the person 
elected was not of the royal blood of Scythia, not the least emo- 
tion or noise proceeded from the stone. But all idols and dia- 
bolical charms lost their force and virtue upon the birth of our 
Saviour, and such was the fate of this stone. 

AH the monarchs of Ireland, upon their succession, were 
crowned on this stone,- until Fergus, son of Earca, (the first king 
of Scotland of the Scythian race,) sent to his brother Mortough, 
then king of Ireland, to desire that he would please to send him 
that stone to Scotland, that he might be crowned theron king of 
that nation ; believing that the crown would be more firmly 
fixed to him and his posterity, by the innate virtue there was 
in that extraordinary stone. The king of Ireland complied with 
his request ; and, about the year of Christ 513, Fergus upon it 
received the crown of Scotland. This stone was kept with great 
\re at the abbey of Scone, in Scotland ; and it was customary 

OF "UrLAND. 51 

for the kings of that country to be crowned thereon, until King 
Edward I. of England had it brought from Scotland. It is now 
placed under the coronation chair, in Westminster Abbey ; of 
which we shall speak more fully hereafter, as well as of the pro- 
phecy which attended it. 

8. The sons of Aiilesius were designing to land on this island, 
when, appearing in sight of Wexford, the forementioned Tuatha 
de Danans assembled together, and, by their magical enchantments, 
made the isle appear no bigger than a hog's back ; whereupon 
«;hey gave it the name Muicinis, that is, the hog's isle. 

9. Its ninth appellation it received likewise from the sons of 
Milesius, who named it Scotia, from their mother's name, Scota, 
who was the daughter of Pharaoh Nectonebus, king of Egypt ; 
or perhaps from themselves^ they being originally of the Scy- 
thian race. 

10. It was also, by these sons of Milesius, called Hibernip j 
some say from a river in Spain called Iberus ; but as others con- 
jecture, from Heber the son of Milesius j though the holy Charles 
Mac Cuillenan is of opinion, that it was so called from the Greek 
word Hiber, which may signify Insula occidentalis, or the wes' 
tern island. 

11. Ptolemeus calls this isle Juernia, Solinus names it Juerna, 
Claudian styles it Jerna, and Eustathius, Verna : audit is the gene- 
ral opinion, that these authors, nob perfectly understanding the 
derivation of the word, varied it according to the particular sense 
of each. 

12. Diodorus Siculus, supposed to aim only as the others did, 
at the signification of the word, gave it the twelfth name, Irin. 

13. It was likewise called Fonn no fearon Ir, that is Irlandia, 
or the land of Ir ; from Ir, who was the first of the sons of Mile- 
sius that was buried in this isle, from whence the island received 
that name ; Irlandia signifying, in the Irish language, the land 
of Ir. And that thus it obtained this name, we have reason to 
believe, because it is particularly mentioned in the book of Ard- 
mach, that this island was called Ireo, which is as much as to say, 
the grave of Ir. 

14. Plutarch calls it Ogygia, which signifies in Latin, Insula, 
perantiqua, that is, the most ancient isle, which is a very suitable 
name to Ireland ; it plainly appearing, from the ancient annals 
of the kingdom, preserved by the antiquaries, and impartially 
transmitted by them to posterity, that several ages have past since 
it was first inhabited, which shall be more fully explained in the 
course of this history. 



Partliolanus, originally a Scythian, came from Greece, and first 
invaded this island, about three hundred years after the Deluge. 

He soon divided the country into four parts ; allotting an equal 
share to each of his four sons. To Er, he gave all the land from 
Oileach Neid, in the north of Ulster, to Dublin, in Leinster, 
From thence to a part of Munster called the island of Barrimore, 
he assigned to his son Orua. From thence to Athcliath Mea- 
ruidhe, near Galway, he bestowed on his son Fearon. From that 
place backwards to the before-mentioned Oileach Neid, he gave to 
the possession of his fourth son, Fergua. 


Beothach, Simon, and Britan, the sons of Nimedius, being 
the three chief commanders, divided Ireland into three parts, 
which they shared amongst them. All the land from Toirinis, 
in the north of Conacht, to the river Boyne, in Leinster, was 
given to the possession of Beothach. To Simon's share fell all 
from thence to the meeting of the three streams near Cork, in 
Munster ; and Britan enjoyed all the remainder, round to the 
forementioned Toirinis, in Conacht. 


This country was divided into five parts, by the five sons of 
Dela, (the son of Loich, named Firbolgs,) which at this time 
are called the five provinces of Ireland. Cambrensis confirms 
this, in the account he gives of this country, in these words : * 
*^Into five almost equal parts this country was anciently divided 
viz., the two provinces of Munster, (Desmond southward, and 
Thoumond towards the north,) Leinster, Ulster, and Conacht." 
The five commanders of the Firbolgs, who governed those five 
provinces, were, Slainge, Seangann, Gann, Geanann, and Eugh- 
caidhe. Slainge possessed the province of Leinster, from 
Drocheda to a place called Comarna dtri nuisgeadh, which sig- 
Qifies the meeting of the three streams : Gann presided over the 
province of Eachach Abhradhruadh, which began at the meeting 
of the three streams, and extended to Bealach Conglais : Sean- 
gann governed the province of Conrigh Daire, from Bealach 
Cono-lais to Limerick : Geanann had for his share the province 
of Conacht, from Limerick to Drobhaois j and Kughraidhe, for 

* In quinque enim portiones fere jequales antiquitus hsec regio divisa fuit ; 
videlicet, in Momoniam duplicem, boroaieai et australam, Lageniam, Ultoniam, 
et Couaciam. 

OF. TR! LAND. 53 

his, the province of Ulster, trom Drobhaois'to Drocheda afore- 

Some historians perhaps may imagine, that Ireland was 
divided into three equal parts, between the sons of Cearmody 
Milbheoil of the Tuatha de Danans j but this can hardly be 
supposed, because we have grounds to believe that these princes 
governed alternately, and reigned annually, in their turns, over 
the whole island. And this appears, from the reasons that are 
given above, why Ireland was more frequently called by the 
name of Eire than of Fodhla or Banba. 



I am sensible that some antiquaries are of opinion, that Ire* 
land was divided between Eabhear-Fionu, and Ereamhon, called 
Heremon, in this manner : the whole country from Dublin and 
Galway southward, to Eabhear-Fionn, or Heberus-Fionn ; and 
the rest, that lay northward, to Ereamhon ; and Eisger Reada 
was agreed to be the boundary between the two kingdoms. 
But it is certain, that Ireland was never thus divided ; for the 
two provinces of Munster, at that time called Deisiol Eirionn, 
that is, the south of Ireland, were given to Eabhear-Fionn ; the 
provinces of Conacht and Leinster, to Ereamhon ; and the 
province of Ulster to Eabhear, the son of Ir, their brother's sou. 
The Spanish nobility, and military forces, that came over in 
this expedition, were likewise divided between these three princes, 
who severally received them as subjects, and took them as the 
supports and ornaments of their new kingdoms. 


These two princes were of the posterity of Ir, and divided the 
island between them : Sobhairce possessed all the country from 
Drooheda to Limerick northward : and Cearmna had, for his 
share, the whole territory southward. Each of them built a 
royal palace in his own kingdom, and called it by his own name ; 
the northern seat was called Dun Sobhairce, and the southern; 
Dun Mac Patrick, which is in Curcies country to this day. 


Ugaine, who was called the Great, divided Ireland into 
twenty-five parts, and allotted shares to each of his twenty-five 
children ; as wp shall have occasion to mention more particularly 
in the progress of this history. 



Con^ and Eogan Mor, who had the title likewise of Mogha 
Nuagatt^ or the strong labourer, divided the island equally 
between them : all the country northwards from Dublin and 
Gal way, belonged to Conn ; and from thence southward, to 
Eogan Mor ; Eisgir Reada was the limits of their several king- 
doms. From this division, the north part of the country was 
called Leath Coinn, that is Conn's share ; and the south, Leath 
Mogha, that is, the share of Mogha ; by which distinctions those 
two parts of the kingdom are known by those names to this 

The seven divisions of the island, which I have mentioned, 
are related faithfully, in a chronological order, from the ancient 
annals of the kingdom, where the revolutions that happened in 
the government are recorded. I shall now look back to the 
division of the country since the time of the Firbolgs, and their 
first arrival in Ireland ; because the island, to this very day, is 
divided into the same five provinces, which are still called by the 
same names. There was a stone erected at Visneagh, in Meath, 
as the centre where the several provinces met, which remained 
till Tuathall Teachtmhar ascended the Irish throne, and cut off 
a part from each province, where he built a royal palace for the 
monarchs of the island, and appointed this territory as a support 
and revenue to the house of Tara. This tract of the country is 
now called the county of Meath and Westraeath ; as will appear 
hereafter, when I come to the history of Tuathall's reign. 


Before I treat of the Irish provinces, I shall first describe the 
particular divisions of Meath, because it was the royal seat of 
the kings of Ireland, and a standing revenue for the support of 
the house of Tara; a territory, as the records of the kingdom in- 
form us, exempt from all taxes, laws, and contributions, and 
independent of all the monarchs and princes of the island, as 
will be observed hereafter in its proper place. Meath, from east 
to west, contained eighteen tracts of land, thirty towns in each 
tract, twelve plough-lands in every town, sixty acres in every 
plough-land; so that every tract contained 360 plough-landi, 
which, in the whole, by that computation, makes up 6180 plough- 
lands in all Meath. 

There are two reasons to be given, why this part of the island 
was called Meath ; the firsts because the parcel of land, that was 


Beparated from every province by Tuathall Teachtmhar, to mako 
this tract, was called, in Irish, Meidhe gach Coigeadh, that is, 
the neck of each province, for the word Meidhe signifies a neck; 
from whence it came afterwards, by corruption, to be called 
Meath, t|;iough among the ancient Irish it still retains its proper 
name of Conde na Meidhe. Others derive the name from Midhe, 
a son of Bratha, son of Deaghatha, who was the principal druid 
or high priest to the royal family of JSTeimhidh or Nemedius. 
This druid was the first that kindled a fire in the island, after 
the arrival of these foreigners, who for this signal service re- 
warded him with a tract of land near Visneach, the place where 
the fire was first kindled j which tract, from the name of the 
druid, was called Midhe. The whole extent of Meath was no 
more at first than this small territory, till the munificence of 
Tuathall Teachtmhar enlarged its bounds. 


The river Shannon, it is observed, runs west of DubliD, to the 
river Abhain Righe, and so westward to Cluanconrach, to the 
French mills' ford, to Cumar Cluana Hioraird, to Tochar Carbre, 
to Cranaigh Geisille, to Druim Cullin, to Biorra, to Abhaiu 
Carra northwards, and so to Loch Ribh. All the islands upon 
the Shannon, as far as Lochbodearg, belong to Meath ; and from 
thence to Athlone, to Sgairbh Vachtarach, to Cumar, to Lin 
Cluana Heodhais, to Loch da Ean, to Magh Cnoghbha, to Duib- 
hir, Atha an Doill, on the mountain Sliabh Fuaid ; from thence 
to Magh an Chosnamhaidh, in a place called Cill Isleibhe ; so to 
Snamh Eagnachair, to Cumar, and to the river Liffee, as an old 
bard thus elegantly describes it. 

From Loclibodearg to Biorra, from thence to the seaside. 

To Cumar Ckiana Hioraird, and to Cumar Cluana Hoirde, 

The poets celebrate, in lasting verse. 

The thirteen tracts in Meath : fair Breagmhuigh 

Has five well known in the records of fame. 

fertile Meath, and most delightful Breag, 

Your praise for ever shall adorn my song- ; 

Whose fat'ning soil along the Shannon's side 

Extends, tiU in the ocean's rugged waves 

Her streams are lost : northward, the tract of Meath 

Reaches to Teabhtha, for heroes famed ; 

And so to Carbre, marked for men of ivar ; 

And thence to Casan Breag, a place reno\\Ti'd 

For noble blood, and troops that never fled, 

And men of learning faithful to the truth. 

^<) TH^'': GENKKAL iilSTORT 

Meath was afterwards divided by Aodha Oirndighe, monarch 
of Ireland, between the two sons of Dinnis, the son of Daniel, 
who had been king of the island before him ; their names were 
Connor and Olioll : he gave the west of Meath to one of them ; 
and the east, wherein was the royal seat of Tara, to the other. 


The province of Conacht, from Limerick to Drobhaois, con- 
tained 900 towns or villages and thirty territories, thirty towns 
in each territory, twelve plough-lands in every town, and 1 20 
acres in every plough-land ; so that there are 1008 plough-landt^ 
in the whole province. It received its name, as some suppose, 
from a trial of necromancy between Cithneallach and Conn, two 
druids of the Tuatha de Danans : the prize fell to Conn, who, 
by his magical skill, covered the whole country of Conacht with 
snow ; Connsneachta signifying the snow of Conn, from whence 
it obtained the name of Conacht. Others derive the word from 
Conn iachta, that is, the children of Conn (iocht signifying chil- 
dren y) because Eochaidh Moighmheadhoin and his posterity, 
who were descendants from Prince Conn, inhabited that part of 
the island ; which may be a reason why the country was called 
Conacht. The province of Conacht was afterwards divided by 
Eochaidh Feidlioch, between three petty prmces : from Fid- 
heach to Limerick, to Fidheach, the son of Feig ; from Galway 
to Dubh, to Drobhfi.ois, he settled upon Eochaidh Alath, jorrus 
Domhnan ; from Galway to Limerick, upon Tinne, the son of 
Coanmch, he bestowed Magh Gainibh, and the old lands of 
Taoidean, from FidheeuhtoTeamhairBhrothaniadh; and Crua- 
chan was the royal seat of the three princes. 


The province of Ulster, from Drobhaois to Inbher Colpa, con- 
tains thirty-six territories, 900 towns or village's, and 12,960 
plough-lands are in the whole province. It was called Uladh, 
that is, Ulster, , from the word Ollsaith, w^hich implies land 
abounding with plenty of fish of all kinds, and the other neces- 
saries of life ; for the w^ord Oil signifies great, and Saith signifies 
wealth, as the poet long ago observed in the following verses •. 

Ceadaoin doluigli Judais tar ord; ar lorg deamhain diodliuil gharg, 
Ceadaoin do ghabh saint urn shaith Ceadoin do biiraith Josa ard. 

Wednesday the traitor Judas, for his guide 
Made choice of Catau and the fiends helov/ ; 
\A1ien, blinded %vith desire of Avealth, that day- 
He basely sold his master. 

OF irklAnd. ^ 57 

Or perhaps the province received its name irom Oiiamii 
Fodiila, whicii tiie poet intimatea in tiie;ie verisea, 

OUamh Fodhla Feoehair Ghoil uaide do hai nmhiagh Ulladh^ 
Jar biiiri'eas Teauihi-acli ua dtreabli as leis ar dtus do hoirneadb.. 

From Ollamh Fodhla, Ulster had its name, 
A wise and valiant prince, who first asseUibled 
The royal parliament of Tara. 

There were two royal seats in the province of Ulster, Emhain 
Mliacha and Oileach Neidh. 


The province of Leinster, from Inbher Colpa, now called 
Drocheda, to the meeting- of the three streams in the bounds of 
Manster, consists of thirty-one territories, which contain 93U 
towns or villages, and 11,760 plough-lands. The province re- 
ceived its name from Laighin, that is, the long spears, which 
were the weapons the Gauls made use of, when they invaded the 
island under Labhra Loiug seach, when first they came on shore 
in this part of the kingdom, which afterwards was called Laighin, 
that is a spear. These foreigners slew, in Dinrigh, Cobhthach 
Caolmbreace, monarch of Ireland, with one of thciie weapons, 
which gave occasion to these lines of the poet, 

Da chead ar f hithid ceid Gall go Laighnibh leathna leo anall, 
Ona Laighnibh Sin gan oil diobh Kohaimnuigheadh Laigiun. 

From the broad spears of the invading Gauls 
The province had its name. 

The royal seats that were in Leinster where the kings of the 
counti-y kupt their coart were Dinrigh and. the Naas. 


The province of Eochadh Abhradhri^dh, reaching from Cork 
to Limerick eastward, and so to the meeting of the three streams, 
contains thirty-five territories, in which are 12,600 plough-lands. 
It is called east Munster ; and the two royal seats, where the 
kings of the province kapt their court, were Dungcrott and Dun- 


This province, extending from Bealach Conglais, by the counties 

oi (Jc;rk and Limerick, to tne west of Ireland, contained thirty. 


five territories, in wliich were 1050 towns or villages ; there were 
12,600 plough-lands in all the west of Munster ; the two palaces 
where the princes of th? province gave audience, were Dunclaire 
and Duneochairmhaghe. The two divisions of Munster were 
governed by two families, that descended from Dairine and Deirg- 
thene, till the reign of Oilioll Ollum, who was of the posterity 
of Deirgthene. This prince after he had banished Macon, who 
Was of the line of Dairine, out of the island, assumed the govern - 
mont of both provinces, and settled the succession upon two of 
his own issue ; under this restriction, that the posterity of his two 
sons, Eogan Mor and Cormac Cas, should succeed alternately ; 
that is the eldest of these princes was to reign during his life, 
but upon his demise, his son was not to inherit, but his brother, 
if alive, or the next heir of his family, and then the crown was 
to return again ; and this limitation was observed for many ages, 
without any dispute or quarrel between the two houses. The 
four royal seats, that I have mentioned, were the places where 
the kings of Munster resided, till the time of Core, son of Luidh- 
dheach, who governed that province ; and in his reign it was that 
Cashel was first discovered, after this manner. The place, which 
is now called Carrick Patrick, where the royal palace of Cashel 
was built, was originally covered with woods, and called Cioth- 
dhruirn, being wholly desert and uninhabited, and used only as 
a pasture for beasts. It so happened that two herdsmen, Ciolara 
and Durdre, the one belonging to the king of Ely, the other to 
the king of Muscrie Tire, which we call Ormond, drove their herds 
into the wood to feed ; and, when they had continued there for 
some time, upon a certain evening, they discovered a most beau- 
tiful person, who, advancing toward them, began to sing with a soft 
and melodious voice ; and then, walking solemnly about, he conse- 
crated, as it were, that spot of land whereon the palace of Cashel 
^ was built, prophesying aloudof the coming of St. Patrick, soon after 
which he vanished. The herdsmen, surprised at so unusual a 
sight, when they came to their homes, related what they had 
seen, till at length it reached the court of Core, son of Luigh- 
dheach, king of Munster. This prince, from a sense of religion, 
repaired immediately to Ciothdhruim, afterwards called Cashel, 
and built there a most stately palace, calling it Lies na Laoch- 
ruidhe, which he made the seat of his residence. He receiyed 
the taxes and revenues of his kingdom upon Carraic Patrick, that 
is Patrick's rock, but then called Caisiol, or Cios oil ; for Cais 
signifies rent, and Oil, in Irish, is a rock or stone ; and, therefore 
the king of Munster receiving his rents and taxes upon that stone, 


by joining the words cais and oil, this royal palacs came after- 
wards to be called Cashel. 


When Oilioll Ollum governed the two provinces of Munster^ 
he divided them into five parts, called in general the province of 
Munster. Thumond, which is the first part, extends in length 
from Leim congculoin to Slighe dhala., called Bealach mor, in 
Ossery ; the breadth of it is from Sliabh Eachtighe to Sliabh 
Eibhlinne. All the country from Sliabh Eachtighe to Limerick 
belonged originally to the province of Conacht, till Liiighuidh 
Mean, who descended from Cormac Cas, made a conquest of it 
by his sword, and added it to the province of Munster. This 
tract was called Grabh Fhearon Luigheadh, that is, the lands of 
Luigheadh. This country, to Dailgeais, was exempt from all 
tributes and taxes, and paid no revenue to any of the kings o:f 
Ireland. The second division called Urmhumha, that is, Ormond, 
extends in length from Gabhran to Cnamhchoill near Tipperary, 
and its breadth is from a place called Bearnan Eile to Oilead Vib- 
hric. The third part called Meadhon Mummhoin, or middle 
Munster, reaches in length from Cnamhchoill to Luachesir dhea- 
ghadh. The fourth part is distinguished by the name of Jarmhum- 
hoin, that is, west Munster ; and its length is from Luachaird- 
heaghadh westward to the main ocean, and its breadth from 
Glenrouchty to the Shannon. The last division, called Ceasm- 
humhain, or south Munster, extends in length from Sliabh 
Caoiii southward to the sea. The two provinces of Munster are 
called, in the Irish language, Da Coigeadh Mumban, from the 
word Mumho, which signifies great or of large extent ; because 
they include a greater tract of land than any other province in 
the whole island. For though I have mentioned, that the pro- 
vince of Ulster contained thirty-six territories, yet it consisted but 
of thirty-three, till the kingdom was divided into provinces, thetl 
it was that Carbi-e Niadhnar, king of Leinster bestowed all the 
country from Loch an Choigeadh to the sea, upon Connor, the 
king of Ulster ; and, contrary to the practice of latter ages, added 
it to his province as a reward for obtaining his daughter in mar- 
riage ; as will be more particularly observed in the course of this 

In the whole kingdom of Ireland were 185 territories, or tracts 
of land, containing 5550 towns, in which were 66,000 plough- 
lands, according to the land measure of the ancient Irish, which 
V as much larger than what was observed in England ; for one 


acre in Ireland would make two or three acres of the English, 
RR they are now computed. 


There are four archbishops in the kingdom of Ireland ; the 
archbishop of Ardmach, primate of the whole kingdom, the arch- 
bishop of Dublin, t^ archbishop of Cashel, and the archbishop 
of Tuam. Under the primate is the bishop of Meath, called by 
Camden, the bishop of AolnaMirion, from a large stone that stands 
in Yisneath, by the name of Aolna Mirion. This stone was the 
boundary of the five provinces of Ireland, before a part was taken 
from each province to form the country of Meath ; and because 
it was erected as a land-mark, to distinguish the limits of each 
province, it was called Aolna Mirion ; for the word Mir, or Mir- 
ion, signifies, in the Irish language^, a share or part of a thing, 
and Aol signifies a stone : it was likewise styled Clock-na-Gcoi- 
geadh, or the provincial stone, because it was fixed centre at the 
meeting of the five provinces. Under the jurisdiction of the 
primate are also the bishop of Dunda Leithghlas, the bishop of 
Glocher or Louth, the bishop of Rathboth or Rapho, the bishop 
of Rathbuck, the bishop of Dailniachair, and the bishop of Derry. 

The archbishop, of Dublin has under him, the bishop of Glen- 
daloch, the bishop of Fearns o Fearna, the bishop of Ossery, the 
bishop of Leithghlin, and the bishop of Kildare. 

The following bishops are under the government of the arch- 
bishop of Cashel : the bishop of Killaloe, the bishop of Limerick, 
the bishop of Iniscatha, the bishop of Kilfenore, the bishop of 
Emly, the bishop of Roscre, the bishop of Waterford, the bishop 
of Lismore, the bishop of Cloine or Cluain nam aigh, the bishop 
of Cork, the bishop of Rosscarbry, and the bishop of Ardfeart. 

The jurisdiction of the archbishop of Tuam extends over the 
l>ishop of Kill Mach Duach, the bishop of Maigheo or Mayo, 
the bishop of Anaochduin, the bishop of Gill iarthair, the 
bishop of Roscomon, the bishop of Cluainfeart, the bishop ot' 
Achoury, the bishop of Cillaiuidh, the bishop of Conaine, th3 
bishop of Gill Mac Duacht, the bishop of Cill monuach, and the 
bishop of Eplin. The archiepiscopal sees were first erected iti 
the year of Christ 1152, according to Camden ; from whom I 
have given an account of many bishoprics, that are now no wher3 
to be found, either because th'ey are wiioliy abolished, or unite i 
to other sees ; as the bishoprics of Lismure and Waterford ar3 
Fiow but one diocess, and the sees of Cork and Cluain are under 
one bishop. 



The kingdom of Ireland is bounded by Spain on the south- 
west, and by France on the south-east ; England lies due east, 
Scotland north east, and the main ocean due west of it. The 
island is observed by Maginus, in notes upon Ptolomy, to resemble 
the form of an egg, situated between 51 and 55 degrees of lati- 
tude : according to the same author, the longest day, in the south- 
east part of the kingdom, is sixteen hours and three quarters, 
and in the north, fall eighteen hours. The length of the island 
is computed from a place called Carn ui Neid, in the south, to 
Cloch and Stacain, in Ulster ; and the breadth from Inbher Mor 
to Hiarus Domhnonn. It is not the proper business of this his- 
tory to describe particularly the cities, towns, harbours, and creeks 
of the kingdom of Ireland, because Camden in his new chronicle, 
has given a full account of them ; and they will fall under consi- 
deration, as far as is necessary, when we come to speak ot the 
invasion of this island by the English.. 


To give a regular account of the first inhabitants of Ireland, I 
am obliged to begin at the creation of the world ; but it is not 
to be expected, that at the distance of so many thousand years, 
I should omit taking notice of some remarkable passages, which 
may be censured as fabulous, and it would be severe treatment 
to judge of the value of this history, by the credibility of such 
relations ; however, the ancient ma^nuscripts of the kingdom are 
the guides I shall chiefly follow. It is impossible for me to have 
uther lights, which, how obscure soever, are to be regarded for 
their antiquity, and to be used with candour, considering the 
superstition and ignorance of those dark ages. 

Adam, the first of human race, was created upon the sixth day 
of the age of the world ; and when he lived fifteen years he 
begat Cain, and his sister Colmana ; thirty years after his crea- 
tion he begat Abel, and Delbora his sister ; and when he was a 
hundred and thirty years old he begat Seth ; according to the com- 
putation of the Welsh in. the Policlironicon. 


Noah was the son of Lamech, son of Methuselah, son of 
Enoch, son of Mahalaleel, sen of Enos, son of Sethj son of 

G2 Tai<: cexl'Hal history 

Adam, the great ancestor of mankind, whose descendants inha- 
bited the earth till the general deluge, when the whole posterity 
were reduced to the small number of Noah's family. The dis- 
tance of time, from Adam to the Flood, was sixteen hundred 
and fifty-six years j as the poet observes in the following distich. 

Cead aimser an bheatha bhin otha Adhamh go Dilion, 
Se bliadhiia caogad radhnglc ar se cheadiiibli ar mhile. 

From the sixth day, when Adam first was fonn'd, 
Till God's avenging wrath drown'd all the world, 
Was fifty-six and sixteen himdrcd years. 

Another author of great antiquity agrees with this account. 
Ilis verse is rough, according to the poetry of those times, and 
may thus be expressed in English. 

Six hnndred and a thousand years, 
And fifty-six, it plain appears^ 
Was all the time the world had stood 
From the Creation to the Flood. 

The age of jSToah, and of his forefethers, is thus computed. 
Noah lived 950 years, Lamech 777, Methuselah 969, Enoch 369, 
Tared 962, Mahalaleel 895, Cainan 910, Enos 905, Seth 912, 
and Adam 930 years. 


The wicked Cain, by the murder of his righteous brother, 
did not only derive a curse upon his own head, but his poste- 
rity were also marked by God with a brand of infamy ; inso- 
much, that the descendants of Seth were expressly forbidden 
to contract any friendship or alliance with them, and were com- 
manded to avoid them, as persons abandoned by Heaven,, and 
wholly out of the care of Divine providence. But this injunc- 
tion was soon disobeyed by the family of Seth, who married 
promiscuously into that ciirsed line ; and, by their sins, brought 
down the vengeance of God upon their own heads, and upon 
all the inhabitants of the earth, by a general deluge, the family 
of Noah only excepted. This man found favour in the sight of 
God j who, for his piety and obedience to his commands, pre- 
served him and his children in that dreadfnl visitation. He 
with his v/ife Cobha, and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and 
Japhet, with their three wives, 011a, Olvia, and Olibana, sur- 
vived the drowning of the world ; which was afterwards divided 


h)t;0 three parts, by Noah, the monarch of the universe, and 
bestowed upon his three sons : to Shem* he gave Asia, to liam 
Africa, and Europe to Japhet. This division of the whole 
earth is thus recorded by an ancient poet. 

Sem do gliabh an A.sia ait, Cam ghon acloin an Afraic, 
Japhet sa nihic asiad do ghabh an Eoruip. 

Shem over Asia did the scepter bear. 
Ham governed Africa for heat severe. 
And Japhet ruled in Europe's cooler air. 


Shem was the father of twenty-seven sons, from whom came 
Arphaxed, Assur, and Persuir, and from them descended the 
nation of the Hebrews. Ham had thirty sons, and Japhet had 
fifteen. The posterity of Japhet inhabited most of the northern 
countries of Asia, and all Europe ; Magog, one of the sons of 
Japhet, was the great ancestor of the Scythians, and the several 
families that invaded the kingdom of Ireland after the Flood, 
before the Milesians made a conquest of the island ; and this 
will m.ore fully appear in the body of this history. 


It has been a general complaint of historians, that, in searching 
into the beginning of kingdoms, and discovering the first inha- 
bitants of countries, they are always perplexed with insuperable 
difficulties ; and the higher they pursue their inquiries, and the 
nearer they come to the origin of a nation, the more obscure and 
involved are the antiquities of it ; and all, at last, ends in 
romantic and fabulous relations, that are scarce worthy of a 
place in historical writings. But yet, all authors, for want af 
better information, and for the sake of method, are obliged U 
mention the accounts they meet with, how uncertain or incre- 
dible soever j and it is for the same reason that I shall trans- 
cribe what is observed by the old antiquaries, concerning the 
first invasion of Ireland before the Flood ; not that 1 would be 
thought to give credit to such chimerical traditions, or would 
impose them upon the belief of others, but I shall offer them 
faithfully, as they are recorded in the most ancient manuscripcs 
that treat of the first inhabitants of this kingdom. 
• \arious are the pinions concerning the iirst mortal that set 


a toot upon this island. We are told by some, that three of the 
daughters of Cain arrived here several hundred years before the 
Deluge j and the old poet gives us this account. 

Tri hingiona chaidhin Chain mar aon ar Seth mac AdhamK 
Ad chonairc an Banba ar vius ar meabhair liom aniomtliius. 

The three fair daughters of the cursed Cain, 
With Seth, the sou of Adam, first beheld 
The isle of Bauba. 

The White book, which in the Irish is called Leabhar 
dhroma sueachta^ informs us that the eldest of these sisters 
was called Banba, who gave a name to the whole kingdom. Af- 
ter them we are told that three men and fifty women arrived in 
the island ; one of them was called Ladhra, from whom was de- 
rived the name of Ardladhan. These people lived forty years in 
the country, and at last they all died of a certain distemper, in 
a week's time ; from their death, it is said, that the island was 
uninhabited for the space of 200 years, till the world was 

We are told by others, that the first who set foot upon the 
island were three fishermen, that were driven thither by a storm 
from the coast of Spain. They were pleased with the discovery 
they had made, and resolved to settle in the country; but they 
agreed first to go back for their wives, and in their return were 
unfortunately drowned by the waters of the Deluge, at a place 
called Tuath Inbhir. The names of these three fishermen were 
Capa, Laighne, and Luasat ; and for this tradition we have the 
authority of the poet, who says, 

Capa, Laighne ar Luasat ghrinn, bhadar bliadhain ria ndilion, 
For Inis Banba na mban, bhadar go calma comhlann. 

, Twelve months before the Flood, the noble isle 

Of Banba first was seen, by Capa, Laighne, 
And Luasat, men of strength, and fit for war. 

Others again are of opinion, that Ceasar, the daughter of Bith, 
was the first who came into the island before the Deluge. The 
poet speaks thus, to the same purpose. 

Ceasar inghion Bheatha bhuain dalta SabhuiU mac aionuaill, 
An chead bhean chalnia do chinn, an Inis Banba ria ndilion. 

Ceasar, daughter of the g^ood Beatba, 
Kur.:ed by the careful hand C'T ??cbbaiJl, 


Was the first woman, in the list of fame, 
That set a foot on Eanba's rugged shore 
Before the world was drowned. 

The manuscripts of Ireland, though not credited by their an- 
tiquaries, give this account of Ceasar'a first coming into this 
island. When Noah was building the Ark, to preserve himself 
and his family from the Deluge, Bith, the father of Ceasar, sent 
to him to desire an apartment for himself and his daughter, to 
Bave them from the approaching danger. Noah, having no 
authority from Heaven to receive them into the Ark, denied his 
request. Upon this repulse, Bith Fiontan, the husband oi 
Ceasar, and Ladhra, her brother, consulted among themselves 
what measures they should take in this extremity; but, coming 
to no resolution, Ceasar thought it proper to apply to an idol, 
and know how they could secure themselves and their families 
from the Flood, which, by the preaching of Noah, they found 
would drown the whole world. They consented unanimously to 
this advice (and as the Devil ever attempted to ape and imitate 
Almighty God) the oracle enjoined them to build a ship in the 
form of the Ark that Noah was preparing, and that when they 
had laid in provisions for a long voyage, they should commit 
themselves to the mercy of the waves ; but the idol had no 
knowledge of the time when the rain should begin to desce:3d 
upon the earth : they immediately applied themselves to the 
work, and with great labour and application at length fitted out 
the vessel, and put to sea. The persons that went on board in 
this manner were Bith, Ladhra, and Fiontan, with their wives 
Ceasar, Barran, and Balbha, and fifty of the most beautiful 
women that would venture along with them. These raw sailors, 
for want of skill in navigation, were tossed and driven fi.'om sea 
to sea, for the space of seven years and a quarter, till they 
arrived at last upon the western coast of Ireland, and landed at 
Ji place called Dun. na mbarc, in the barony of Corchadu ibhne ; 
as we may observe in the following verses : — 

As ann gbabhadar port ag Dun na mbarc an bhanntracht, 
Agcuil Ceasrach agcoch charin acuig deag dia siathniin. 

The trembling fair now unknown climes explore, 
And sea-sick land upon the western shore 
Of Ireland, in Ceasara's wood. 

They came into the island forty days before the waters began 
to overspread the earth. Another old poet gives the sama: 


account of these adventures, with this additional circumstauce 
that they began their voyage from an eastern part of the wor jd. 

Do luig anoir Ceasar, ingliion Bheatha an bhear- 
Goiia caogad inghion agus gonadh triar fear. 

Ceasar, the fair daiighter of Beatha, 
Sailed from the east, with fifty women more 
Attended by these men for valour famed. 

When the ship came close to the shore of Dun na mbarc, on 
the western part of the island, the first that set foot upon the 
land was Ladhra ; the first mortal that ever was upon the island, 
according to those antiquaries, who say that Ireland was never 
inhabited before the Flood but by Ceasar, and those who fol- 
lowed her fortune in that voyage. The mountain Sliabh Beatha 
received its name from Beatha ; Feart Fiontan, a place near 
Lochdeirg, was so called from Fiontan ; and from Ceasar a place 
in Conacht was called Carn Ceasar. These new inhabitants, 
when they had all landed, began to make discoveries in the island ; 
and they travelled together till they came to the fountain-head 
of the rivers Steur, Feoir, and Berbha ; here it was, that the 
three men agreed to divide the fifty women between them. Fion- 
tan, besides his wife Ceasar, had seventeen for his share ; Bith 
had his wife Barran, and seventeen more ; and Ladhra had his 
wife Balbha, and v/as satisfied with the sixteen that remained. 
After this division Ladhra set out with his share of the women, 
and came to Ardladhron, where he settled and died. His wife, 
with the women that belonged to her, thought fit to remove and 
return to Ceasar ; these women were divided between Bith and 
Fiontan : Bith took his number to Sliabh Beatha, where he 
died. The women that he left applied themselves to Fiontan, 
who, unable to comply with the expectations of his seraglio, re- 
solved to leave them ; and so ran away and came to Leinster. 
His wife, Ceasar, upon the loss of her ^husband, removed to a 
place called Ceasar's wood, in Conacht, where, out of grief for 
her husband's absence, and the death of her father and brother, 
she broke her heart. This happened but six days before the 
Deluge ; as the poet observes in the Psalter of Cashel. 

As iad Can iar nuair bhoachta andaoigeadha animheachta, 

Ki laibh acht Seaehtmhain na ndliia uaithuibh gus an geathracha. 

And thus they died, as fate decreed they should, 
Sis days before the rising of the Fioo<L 

OF IRliiAXD. . G7 

This is thought^ by the Irish annalS;, to be an unaccountable 
relation, which it is impossible to give the least credit to ; nor 
have I inserted it, in the beginning of this history, with any 
design that it should be believed, but only for the sake of order, 
and out of respect to some records of the kingdom, that make 
mention of it ; but from whence intelligence could be had of what 
passed in this island before the Flood, it is out of my power to 
conceive ; and I never read of any monuments or inscriptions 
upon pi'llars, to inform posterity of such transactions. To say 
that Fiontan preserved himself alive in the time of the Deluge, 
is incredible in itself, and contrary to the authority of Scripture, 
wdiich mentions but eight persons that survived the Flood, and 
every one knows that Fiontan was not one of those persons. 
We have indeed some ancient .manuscripts, that give a legendary 
account of four persons, Fors, Fearon, Andord, and this Fiontan, 
that, as they say, lived before and after the Deluge, and after- 
wards divided and possessed themselves of the four parts of the 
world ; but our antiquaries, that are best acquainted with the 
■history of Ireland, reject such fables with just indignation, sup- 
posing that those authors who thus endeavour to deceive man- 
kind, have no other design but to bring the genuine antiquities 
of this kingdom into contempt. As for such of them, who say 
that Fiontan was drowned in the Flood, and afterwards came to 
life, and lived long to publish the antediluvian history of the 
island, what can they propose by such chimerical relations, but 
to amuse the ignorant with strange and romantic tales, to cor- 
rupt and perplex the original annals, and to raise a jealousy, 
that no manner of credit is to be given to the true and authen- 
tic chronicles of the kingdom 1 

Besides, supposing it were possible that this Fiontan could 
preserve himself in the Deluge, and live after it, how came it 
to pass that no authors of any character have transmitted an 
account of it to posterity; that no philosophers and men of 
universal learning of this nation, who were curious in discovering 
the antiquities of their own country, should omit taking notice 
of so memorable an event, and pass it over in silence and unre- 
garded 1 The w^iole account, therefore, is no more than a spu- 
rious legend, and a poetical fiction, designed to surprise persons 
of low capacities, and to impose upon the superstitious vulgar, 
of too weak a judgment to apprehend to detect the falsehood 
of it. 

I must own there is a very good reason for me to believe, that 
there was a VQrj old man, iu the tune of St. Patrick, ^yho lived 


some hundred years before, and gave him a particular account 
of the history of the island ; not only relating to some of the 
most remarkable transactions of his own time, but he delivered 
down the traditions he had received from his ancestors, that 
concerned the antiquities of the kingdom : but the name of 
this person was Tuam, the son of Carril, if we believe some an- 
tiquaries ; or, if we give credit to others, Roanus, that is Caoilte 
Mac Ronain, who was above three hundred years old, and in- 
formed Saint Patrick of the observations he had made through 
the course of a long life, relating to the affairs of his own coun- 
try. This Caoilte w^as certainly the man that was afterwards 
called Roanus or Ronanus j for there is not an old record or 
manuscript of any authority in this kingdom which makes men- 
tion of Fiontan by those names ;.and, therefore, Giraldus Cam- 
brensis could have no foundation but his own fancy for calling 
Fiontan by the name of Roanus or Ronanus ; and, to show his 
ignorance the more, confounds the names, and understands the 
one for the other. This author deserves no manner of regard 
or credit to be given him, and his chronicle is the most partial 
representation of the Irish history that was ever imposed upon 
an J nation in the world : he has endeavoured to make the 
venerable antiquities of the island a mere fable, and given occa- 
sion to the historians that came after him, to abuse the world 
with the same fictitious relations. This Caoilte, therefore, must 
be the person who went afterwards by t^e name of Ronanus ; 
for the ancient manuscripts of the kingdom always mention him 
by this name, and he is so called in a book that he wrote him- 
self, (to be found among the works of Saint Patrick), under the 
title of Historia Hibernise; for in the title page, where the 
name of the author is particularly expressed, it is said to be 
written Authore Ronano. 

There is another falsehood to be met with in Dr. Hanmer'? 
Cbornicle, which I am obliged to observe in tnis place ; not only 
to show the partiality of that writer, but to vindicate the Irish 
nation from those vile aspersions that such retailers of history 
have fixed upon them, who study to represent them as the most ig- 
norant and superstitious people upon the face of the earth. This 
author, for reasons best known to himself, would have us believe, 
that the Gadelians, or the old Irish, had a great veneration for 
the memory of this Fiontan, whom he calls Roanus, for the ac- 
count he gaveof the antiquities of the kingdom. He lived,it seems, 
before the Flood, preserved himself in the Deluge, and continued 
alive about two thousaf»d vears after. 

OF IRl LAND, 69 

iu iiis travels about tiie island he met with St. Patrick, aud re- 
lated to him the transactions of many past ages : this saint made 
a convert of him to Christianity, and baptized him ; about a 
year after he died. He was buried near Loch Ribh, in a place where 
he says there is a church dedicated to him by his own name, whicii 
is now to be found in the calendar of the Irish saints. But there 
is not an antiquary, or a manuscript of any authority, that en - 
courages these romantic tales ; and it is a common pratice of the 
English writers to debase the antiquities, and to raise a charac- 
ter of their own nation, upon the ruins of the ancient Irish ; but 
withal they sufficiently expose their own ignorance and incapa- 
city for historical writings, by reason they give three several names 
to the very same person. He is called Fiontan, (but Roanus by Gir- 
aldus Cambrensis,) and Caoilte Mac Ronain, who was baptized by 
St. Patrick, and discovered to him the original accounts of the island; 
and Ruan, who consecrated Lothra, in Ormond, near Loch Dierg, 
not Loch Ribh, as Hanmer would impose upon us. But I have 
no more time to throw away in refuting the falsehoods of this dis- 
ingenuous author, or the writers he folio w^ed. As for the name 
Roanus, I suppose Giraldus^ mistook and at first wrote it for 
Ronanus, which led others who came after him into the same 
error ; and so it has been taken upon trust, and delivered down ; 
and Roanus is the current name with common historians to this 


The first person, who set foot upon the island after the Deluge, 
was, according to some antiquaries, a messenger, whose name was 
Adhna, the son of Beatha, sent by Nion, the son of Pelus, to dis- 
cover the soil of the country. He landed upon the coast about 
seven score years after the Flood, but made no stay ; he onjy 
plucked up a handful of grass as a proof, and returned with it to 
his master. This adventure is mentioned by an old poet, whose 
verses are to be found in the Psalter of Cashel, and begin thus, 

Adhna, Beatha's son, we all agi-ee, 
After the Flood, first tried the irisli sea. 
He prov'd the soil, and from the earth he tore 
A handful of rich gi'ass, then left the shore, 
And so returned. 

Tuis, as our antiquaries observe, ought not, strictly ispeaklng, 
to fjQ reckoned a Xjeopliiig of the isianu ; Ca.'i;auso the messerjver 

70 Tn;c ge::eral uistoui 

made no stay, and left no inhabitants behind him ; but, for tl.e 
sake of method, it was thought not improper to mention it, the 
better to introduce the history of the first colony, who settled 
in and took possession of the country. 

The kingdom of Ireland lay wild and uninhabited for the space 
of three hundred years after the Deluge, till Partholanus, son of 
Seara, son of Sru, son of Easru, son of Framant, son of Fathocda, 
son of Ma^og, son of Japhet, son of Noah, arrived there with his 
people. This the poet takes notice of after this manner. 

The Tvestem isle three hundred years lay waste, 
Shice the wide waves the stubborn world defaced, 
Till Partholamis landed. 

By this computation I am induced to believe, that it w'as about 
two and twenty years before Abraham was born, that Partholanus 
c"^me into Ireland, and in the year of the world 1978; as the poet 

A thousand and nine hundred years had past, 
And seventy- eight, since Adam first was formed, 
Till righteous Abraham was born. 

I am not of the opinion of those authors, who imagine that 
Partholanus landed in the island about 1002 years after the 
Flood ; and at the same time allow that he was in Ireland in the 
time of Abraham. We are satisfied by Scripture, that Abraham 
was no more than the eighth in a direct descent from i>J'oah in- 
clusive ; and it is not to be supposed that a thousand years should 
include no more than seven generations : so that we have more 
authority to believe that Partholanus reached the Irish coast about 
three hundred years after the Deluge. He began his V03^age from 
the country of Migdonia, in the middle of Greece, and steered 
towards Sicily ; leaving Spain upon the left, he came into the 
Irish sea, and landed upon the fourteenth of May, at a place called 
Inbher Sceine, in the v/eet of Munster ; as the poet observes in 
these lines. 

The fourteenth day of May the Greeks came o'er 
And anchors cast, and landed on the shore 
Of Inbher Sceine. 

The persons that attended Partholanus in this voyage, v/ere 
his wife Dealgnait, and his three sons, Eughraidhe, Slainge, and 
Laighline, with their three wives and a thousand soldiers ; as we 
have the ac3ount from Ninus and the Psalter of Cashel. The 
place where Partholanus fixed his residence was at Inis Same?;, 


near Earae, and it received that name from a greyhound winch 
Partholanus killed in that isle : the place, therefore, was so called 
from Inis which signifies an isle ; and Samer being the dog's name 
it was styled Inis Samer, or the Dog's isle. The death of thi? 
greyhound was occasioned by the passion and resentment of Par 
tholanus, who was informed of the loose behaviour of his wife 
v^ith one of her footmen, whose name was Togha. This lady i 
seems was of a perverse disposition, and having disgraced her- 
self with her menial, sought to palliate her misconduct by some 
highly indecorous observations. 

When reproached by Partholanus, she replied to him in a 
strain quite at variance with all morality. She made light of 
her crime and, as it were to justify it, quoted some licentious 
verses from a profane poet, who was as ignorant as he was disre- 
gardless of a woman's dignity and duty. As yet, hoTvever, Ire- 
land lay plunged in idolatry and superstition, and we are not to 
wonder if in the absence of Christianity, many of the inhabitants 
were given to the practices so inveterate and cherished amongst the 

This incident is recorded by the poet : 

Partholanus, astonished at her audacious reply, in a fit of pas- 
sion seized upon her favourite greyhound, and threw it with all 
his force upon the ground, and it died upon the spot. The name 
of the greyhound was Samer, as we observed before, and the place 
is called Inis Samer to this day. This is the first instance of 
jealousy and female falsehood in the Irish history. Seventeen 
years after Partholanus landed in Ireland, one of his followers 
died, whose name was Feadha, the son of Tartan ; he was the 
first person that died in the island, and from him Magh Feadha 
rece-ived its name. 

The reason, why Partholanus left his own country, and under- 
took this voyage, was, because he slew his father and mother in 
Greece, in order to obtain the crown, and hinder his elder bro- 
ther of the succession ; but the vengeance of God overtook the 
inhuman parricide, and destroyed sometime after nine thousand 
of the posterity of his colony by the pestilence : they were car- 


ried off ^iihin the space of a week, at Binncadair, ixow called the 
Hill of Hoath, near Dublin. 

Tliere is an account in some authors, though of no credit with 
the Irish antiquaries, of a sort of inhabitants in the island, before 
Partholanus brought over his colony. These people were under 
the government of Ciocall, the son of Nil, son of Garbh, son of 
Uadhmoir, (who gave a name to the mountain Sliabh,) whose 
mother was Loth Luaimhneach, and they lived two hundred 
years by fishing and fowling upon the coast. Upon the arrival 
of Partholanus and his people, there was a bloody battle fought 
between them at Muigh Jotha, where Ciocall and his whole army 
were destroyed. The place where Ciocall landed with his fol- 
lowers is said to be Inbher Domhnonn ; he came over in six ships, 
and had fifty mfen and fifty women in every ship ; as the poet ob- 
serves iu the following verses : 

The brave Ciocall, Avith three hundred men. 
Cast anchor in the bay of Inbher Domhnon ; 
But, fighting to repel the bold invaders, 
Were all cut off. 

In the time of Partholanus, seven lakes broke out in the island, 
which were these ; Loch Measg, inConacht, Loch Con, and twelve 
years after his arrival Loch Diechiodh began to flow ; and a year 
after, Slainge, one of his sons, and the fourth great officer in the 
government, died, and was buried at Sliabh Slainge ; Laighline, 
another son, died about a year after that, and as his grave was 
digging, the Loch Laighline sprang out of the hole, from whence 
it was called Loch Laighline : the next year Loch Eachtra broke 
out, between Sliabh Mudhoirn and Sliabh Fuaid, in Oigialladh ; 
then flowed Loch Eughraidhe, where Rughraidlie, another son 
of Partholanus was drowned ; and in the same year Loch Luain 
began to flow. Partholanus found but nine rivers and three 
lakes in the whole island : the lakes were Loch Luimhnidh, in 
Desmond ; Fion Loch Cearra, at Jerrous Domhnonn, in Coiiacht ; 
and Loch Foirdreamhuin, at Sliabh Mis, near Tralee, in Munster. 
This is observed in a poem in Psalter na ran, which begins thus, 
Acliaomh chlair chuin chaomhslieang, and the verses are these : 

Tliree pleasant lakes at first adorned the isle, 

Loch Foirdreamhuin, Loch Lumnigh, and Fionn Loch, 

The nine rivers were, Buas, between Dalnaruidhe and Dai^-. 
riada, this river is called Ru^atch ; Liffee, which rims throiigl) 

>. > >N ^ 


jrftrt of Leinster to Dublin ; Lagi or Lee, that passes through 
part of Munster to Cork ; SligOj Samerand Muaidh, in Coimciit ; 
Mudhorn, that runs through Tireogain ; Buas, th^t passes, 
f>otween Tireogain and Tirconuill, and the river Banna, 'rvhose 
streams flow between Lee and Eiile ; as the poet mentions in a 
])Com that begins in this manner, Adhamh athair smith ar sluagh 

Tlie ancient streams, that made the country fruitful, 

\7ere Leoi, Buas, Danna, Bearbh, 

Saimer, Sligo, Mudhom, Muadh, and BilFee. 

Four yearo after the first flowing of Loch Murthola, Partho- 
ianus died, in the plains of Moyneaita, where he was buried ; the 
place was called Sean-mhagh-ealta Eadair, because the soil was 
barren, and not so much as a shrub v/ould grow upon it ; for the 
word Sean-m?iagh-eaka signifies a barren plain ; it^was likewise 
called Maghnealta or Moynealta, fi'om the number of fowl that 
used to flock thither to bask themselves in the sun, as was before 
observed. The death of Partholanus happened thirty years after 
liis arrival upon the island, and, as some antiquaries say, in the 
year of the world 2628 ; though I am induced rather to follow the 
other computation, which makes it appear that it was in the year 
of the world 1986. Others imagine, that there were 520 years 
between the death of Partholanus. and the destruction of his 
people by the j)lague ; but the learned antiquaries are of another 
opinion, who allow that the island lay waste and uninhabited 
but thirty yea,rs, after the posterity of Partholanus and his foi- 
i'-wers were thus destroyed, till Nemedius landed upon the coast ; 
as we are informed by the following verses : 

A dreadful plague laid all the island waste, 
Thro' ev'ry house and ev'jy to^vTiit pass'd: 
Not one remain 'd alive. For thirty years 
The country desolate and wild appears, 
Till new inhabitants arrived. - 

We are informed by Charles Mac Cnillenar, in the Psalter of 
Cashel, that it was three hundred years from the time that Par- 
tholanus arrived in Ireland till the plague swept away the pe<">ple» 
and for his opinion he refers to the authority of Eochaidh 6 Fhim. 
a poet of some repute, who has left us these lines ; 

Three hundi-ed years this warlike progeny 
Possess'd the island, till the plague destroy'd 
TL' inhahitants, and left the couutry waste. 


The most learned antiquaries have always allowed of this com- 
putation ; and therefore they who reckon above 500 yearsbetweeii 
she death of Partholanus and the destruction of his people by 
the pestilence, must be mistaken in their account of time ; for 
it seems incredible, that the country should be inhabited above 
500 years, and that the number of souls should amount to no 
more than 9000 of both sexes ; especially when it is considered 
that Partholanus brought over with him 1000 wlien he first took 
possession of the island. 


The four sons of Partholanus were Er, Orbha, Fearon and 
Feargna ; and we are to observe that Milesius had four grand- 
sons of the same name. These four divided the kingdom into 
four parts, and shared it between them. Er possessed all tha 
country from Oileach Neid, in the north, to Dublin, in Lein- 
eter, Orbha governed all from thence to the isle of Barrymore, 
in Munster ; Fearon enjoyed all from thence to Gal way, in Con 
acht, and Feargna ruled the whole tract back to Oileach Neid 
aforesaid. Eochaidh 6 Flinn, an antiquary, and poet of great 
note amongst the Irish, gives a particular account of these divi- 
xions in this manner : 

It was an honour to the aged monarch, 
The djnng Partholanus, that his sons, 
Four valiant youths, deserv'd the kingdom after him. 
These princes equally the island shared ; 
'The}'- lived in friendship and without ambition • 
Their love in early infancy appear'd, 
And rose as childhood ripen'd into man. 
Ireland was then a wilderness, untiil'd, 
O'errun with brambles, and perplex'd vrith thomj, 
Till by the mutual pains and hard fatiguo 
Of these young heroes, it began to bear 
And yield a harvest suited to their hopes. 
Er was the eldest, noble, wise, and brave, 
lie governed northward from Oileach Nfeid 
To Dublin ; and from thence to Barrj'more, 
A pleasant isle, the bounds of his command, 
Orbha possessed, 

Fearon, fi-om the grave of great ^JTemedius, 
Enjoy'd the fruitful tract, vdth plenty stored, 
To Galway ; and from thence Feargna rided 
A spacioiLS territory to Oileach Neid. 
These youtlis were, by th' indulgent care of heaveii, 
Design 'd as blessmgs on their native isle. 


Tlie persons of distinotioii that attended Partholanus into Ire- 
land were Tochacht, Tarbha, Trenjomus, Eathachbeal, Cul, 
Dorcha, and Damhliag. There were four learned men brought 
over in this expedition ; their names were Lag, Leagmhadh, 
Jomaire, and Eithrighe. The first that promoted hospitality 
aud good neighbourhood was Beoir, who made an entertainment, 
and introduced the custom of feasting into the island, which 
gave occasion to Samaliliath to invent the use of cups for the 
conveniency of drinking. Breagha recommended the pernicious 
practice of duelling and single combat. The three principal 
druids were Fios, Eolus, and Fochmair ; and their most expert 
generals, who had distinguished themselves in battle, were Muca, 
Mearan, and Municneachan ; the merchants who first began to 
establish a trade were Biobhal and Beabal. 

Partholanus had ten daughters^ whom he married to husbands 
of the first quality among his own countrymen j the posterity 
of Partholanus, and his followers, transported with him, conti- 
nued in the island 300 years, from the time that this prince 
arrived in the country, till the whole number of the inhabitants, 
who were 9000 persons, were destroyed by the plague, at the 
Hiil of Hoath, in that kingdom. It was 300 years after the 
Deluge that Partholanus landed upon the coasty which makes 
up 600 years from the Flood till this colony perished by that 
dreadful visitation. 



Ireland, we observed, continued without inhabitants for thirty 
years after the death of the Partholanians, till Nemedius, the 
son of Adnamhain, son of Paim, son of Tait, son of Seara, son 
of Sru, son of Easru, son of L'raimaint, son of Fathochta, son of 
Magog; son of J aphet, son of Noah, arrived upon the coast. All 
the original inhabitants of the island were the descendants of 
Magog : for the learned antiquaries are of opinion that the 
account of Ceasar that we have mentioned is ftibulous, and de- 
serves no credit. The relation between Partholanus and Ne- 
medius is to be carried no higher than to Sru, the son of Easru ; 
the Firbolgs, the Tuatha de Danans, and the Gadelians were 
the posterity of Seara, and are several branches of the same 
family. These tribes, notwithstanding they were dispersed into 
different cnimtrios, retained the same language, which was Scot- 
bhearla, or the Irish, and it was spoken as the mother tongue 
by every tribe. This we have reason to believe from the iyj^ti-> 


TFir: Gi-Ni'liAL niST"l:Y 

fnony of authentic writers, who relate, that when Ithus, the sot? 
of Breogan, arrived in Ireland, from Spain, he conversed witli 
the Tuatha de Danans in their own language j as will more 
particularly appear in its proper place. 

Othei's are of opinion that' Nemedius descended from one of 
the sons of Partholanus, called Adhla, who was left behind in 
Greece, and did not attend his father in the Irish expedition. 
Nemedius began his voyage from the Euxine sea, which is tke 
boundary between the north-west part of Asia and the north- 
east of Europe. He passed by the mountains of Sleibhte Rife, 
on the left hand, and came to a place called Aigen, in the north ; 
from thence arrived upon the coast of Ireland. His fleet con- 
sisted of four-and- thirty transports, and he manned every vessel 
with thirty persons. Nemedius had four sons, who followed 
his fortune ; their names were Stairn, Jarbhainiel Faidh, Ainnin, 
and Fergus Leathdhearg. 

There broke out four lakes in the island in the time of Nem.e- 
dius ; Loch Breanuiu, at a place called Magh na Sul Anuibh 
Niallain ; Loch Muinramhair, at Magh Sola, in Leinster ; and, 
ten years after his arrival. Loch Dairbhreach, and Loch Ainnin, 
at Magh Mor, in Meath, began to flow : the lake Ainnin sprang 
out of the gra-ve that was digging for Ainnin, the son of Neme- 
dius, and was called after his name. The poet gives this account 
of these lakes : 

• Then the four lakes began to flow, 
And water'd all the plains below ; 
Loch Dahblu-each, and Loch Breaunuin, 
Lech Miunramhah", and Loch Ainnhi, 

Macha, the wife of Nemedius, ,^ied before her. son Ainnin, 
after she had been in Ireland about twelve years ; from her 
Armagh received its name, because she was buried in that place. 
Nemedius built two royal seats in the island, which were called 
Cinneich, at Joubhniallain, and Raith Ciombhaoith, in Seimhne. 
These places were erected by the four sons of Madain Muin- 
reamhair, who were called Fomhoraicc ;* their names were Bog, 
Robhog, Rodin, and Ruibhne. These master builders, and then' 

* The apparent difference between our translator and General Vallancey, in 
toe translation of this word, may be easily reconciled. Fomhoraicc, or Fo muir- 
eaig, with O'Connor, sea-robbers, is by General Vallancey rendered, marine 
sovereigns ; yet, in early ages, there was, perhaps, httle difiference betwee^j 
pirates and sovereigns of the sea — See Geu. Vallencey's Irish Grammar, p. 13 
note Dub. 1781< 

country men, were distinguislied by tbe name Fomhoraicc, be- 
cause they were a sort of pirates or sea-robbers, that came ori- 
ginally from Africa, and settled from that time in the north of 
Ireland. The next morning after these palaces were finished, 
ISTemedius commanded the four builders to be slain, out of jea- 
lousy, lest they should afterwards erect other structures that 
should exceed his in state and magnificence. These brothers 
were killed at a place called Doire Lighe, and there they w^ere 

Nemedius, designing to improve the soil of the country, cut 
down twelve woods of a very large extent, and laid the land 
open j their names were, Magh Ceara, Magh Neara, Magh Culle 
Tolla, Magh Luirg, in Conacht ; Magh Tochair, in Tireogaiu ; 
Leacmhadh, in Munster ; Magh Breasta, in Leinster ; Magh 
Lughaidh, at Jobh Turtre ; Magh Seireadh, at Seabhtha j Magh 
Seimne, at Dalnaruidhe ; Magh Muirtheimhne, at Breagmhuigh, 
and Magh Macha, at Oirgialladh. 

Those African pirates, called Fomhoraicc, were the descen- 
dants of Shem j they fitted out a fleet, and set sail from Africa, 
and steering toward the western isles of Europe, landed upon 
the Irish coast. The design of their voyage was to separate 
themselves from the posterity of Ham, who was cursed by Noah, 
his father, lest they should be involved in the same punishment, 
which they thought they should avoid by flying and settling in 
another country. But, some time after they arrived, Nemedius 
engaged them in three bloody battles, and came off" conqueror ; 
the first battle was fought at Sliah Blaidhmia, the second at 
Boss Fraochain, in Conacht, where Gan and Geanan were slain, 
the two principal commanders of the Africans. They fought 
the third battle at Murblrjg, in Dailraidah, where Stairn, th-e 
son of Nemedius, was killed by Conning, the son of Faobhar 
But, in the fourth battle, which was the most bloody and despe- 
rate, and was fought at Cnamhruis, in Leinster, Nemedius was 
defeated^ and his forces, which were most of the men he had 
in his kingdom, were cut to pieces, ximong the slain was Arthur, 
the son of Nemedius, born in Ireland, and Jobhchon, the sou 
of his brother Stairn. This misfortune broke the heart of Ne- 
medius, who died soon afterwards, with two thousand of his 
subjects, men and women, with him, at a place called Oilean 
arda Nemhid, now called the isle of Barrymore, in the coun y 
of Cork, in the province of Munster. 

The Africans, upon the death of Nemedius, a prince of great 
bravery and courage, and w^iose very name before had beeu a, 

78 TH ; GCls^tTiAL iilETCmY 

terror to those pirates, pursued their victory, and made an en- 
tire conquest of the country. They resolved to revenge ujjou 
the Nemedians the loss they had sustained in so many bloody 
battles, and, taking advantage of the death of the Irish general, 
thoy immediately assembled their forces, and \vith small diffi- 
culty made themselves masters of the whole island. So that these 
vagabond Africans, who settled at Tor Inis, or (as some call it 
Tor Conning) in the north of Ireland, entirely subdued the old 
inhabitants, and made them tributaries. 

More, the son of Dela, and Conning, the son of Faobhar, (which 
gave the name to Tor Conning,) to support themselves in their 
new conquests, fitted out a fleet, and strengthened them- 
selves with a standing army, and by these military motho^.is ha- 
rassed the unfortunate Nemedians, and obliged them to bring the 
tax and contributions they laid upon them, from the several parts 
of the island, to a place called Magh Goeidne, between Drobhaois 
and Eirne, and to deliver their tribute punctually upon the hrst 
da}^ of November every year. These conquerors were very cruel 
and severe in their exactions npon the vanquished j for they de- 
manded. two parts of their children, of their cattle, of their milk, 
butter and wheat, which was collected in this manner. The 
Africans employed a woman to be the general receiver of their 
tribute, and she obliged every family in the isla^id to pay three 
measures of wheaten meal, three measures of cream, and three 
measures of butter every year, and compelled them to bring 
their contributions to Magh Gceidno before mentioned. This 
place receives its name from the violence that was used upon 
the JMemedians in the collecting of their taxea ; for the word 
Magh signifies a field or plain^, Gcsidne sigmties compulsion oi 
force ; and the two words, when they are joined, make Maghce- 
idne, which signifies the field v/hereiuthe Nemedians were forced 
to pay the tribute that their masters, the barbarous Africans, 
thought fit to e::act ; as the poet observes in tlieso linas, 

Throe measures of a larger size, 

Of cream and butte.v scarce auiilce, 

Tlie haughty victor's avarice. 

Aa many measures they demand 

Of wheaten meal, as tribute for tbeir laud. 

The Ncmedians, unable any longer to bear the oppression of 
these tyrants, resolved to shake off the yoke, and to make ov:e 
vigorous effort to" recover their liberty ; the principal of them 
met and concortod measures for a general revolt ; they agreed 


) sumraon nfl the force they were al;lf?, an'l to try the fortune of 
a pitched battle with the Africans ; acccrdinglj th.ey formed an 
army under the coranmnd of three expert generals, whose names 
were Beothacli, the son of Jarbhanell, Fathach, the son of Ne- 
medins, and his brother Fergus Leathdhearg ; and to give their 
men the greater courage, there were three brothers, who app^^ared 
in the field, and were officers of more than common bravery and 
conduct, Earglan, the son of Beoan, son of Stain, son of Neme- 
diuvS, and his two brothers. !Manntan and Jarthacht ; these were 
champions of the Nero.edians, who ofiered to expose themselves 
in the hottest of the engagement, and to repel the fury of the 
enemy. Their army by land consisted of thirty thousand able 
men, and thej^ had the same strength by sea ; as the poet ob 
serves in this manner : 

Xr-w the ^STemedians bravely make a pfand. 
Eager of fight, and only wait command, 
With sixty thousand men by sea and laud. 

The Nemedians fell desperately upon the enemy, anda bloodv 
battle ensued, wherein Conuing^ the Afri<?an general, with all 
his children, was slain ; and his garrison, which be had fortified, 
was taken and destroyed. 

During this attempt of the T^emedians to free themselves 
from slavery, More, the sm of Dela, was absent with his fleet 
in Africa ; but ho returned soon after the battle, and landed at 
Tor Inis with sixty sail, and a numerous arm}'- on board j and 
as they attempted to come on shore, the Nemedians opposed 
them, and a most desperate fight followed. The two armies 
fought with equal courage, upon the strand, without any sign of 
victory on either side, and the greatest part of their men were 
slain. The action was so hot, that they did not observe how 
the tide flowed in upon them, till they were quite surrounded, 
and when they offered to retire upon the land, they were hin- 
dered by the depth of tlie waters, so that those who had escaped 
the sword were drowned. More, the son of Dela, had the good 
fi^n'tune to make his way to his shipping, and having the advan- 
tage of his fleet, with the remams of his forces took possession 
of the whole island. Of the Nemedians, no more than thirty 
bravo ofnce^s and three principal commanders escaped, in a 
sloop, out of the whole army. The names of the three generals 
were, Simon Breac, the son of Stairn, the son of Nemedius ; 
•iobhath, son of Beothach, sou of Jarbhannell Fathach, son of 


Nemedius ; and a grandson of Nemedius, called Briotan Maoi, 
the son of Fergus Leathdearg. 

The chief of the Nemedians, upon this unfortunate defeat, after 
they had consulted among themselves, resolved uuanimousl}^ to 
quit the island, rather than submit again under the yoke of tho 
Africans ; but they were seven years before they had an oppor- 
tunity to put this design in execution. Then these three gene- 
rals divided the shijDping, which JSTemedius first brought into the 
island, between them, and receiving as many of their people as 
would venture to follow them, they weighed anchor, and stood 
out to sea. The Nemedians that remained in the country, 
were miserably oppressed by the tyranny of the conquerors, and 
lived in this state of servitude, under the government of ten 
pi'incipal commanders, till the Firbolgs landed in the island. 

Simon Breac, the son of Stairn, the son of Nemedius^ who 
was one of the three generals that left the country, arrived at 
Greece with the people he had on board, and instead of finding 
that liberty which he exjDCcted, he and his followers only ex- 
changed one slavery for another ; from this Simon Breac, the 
Firbolgs derive their origin, as will be observed in its proper 
place. The second general was Jobhath, another grandson of 
JSTemedius, who sailed, with his men, to the northern parts of 
Europe ; and some antiquaries are of opinion, that the Tuatha 
de Danans descended from him. The third general was Briotan 
Maol, the son of Feargus Leathdhearg, son of Nemedius, who 
landed in the northern parts of Scotland, and there settled, and 
bis posterity were long possessed of that country. The number 
of ships the Nemedians procured, upon this occasion, consisted 
of eleven hundred and thirty sail of sloops, barks, and boats, 
Bome of which were covered with leather, and called, in the Irish 
language, Naomhogs. The posterity of Briotan Maol, and hia 
followers, continued in the north of Scotland, till the Picts 
sailed from Ireland, to inhabit that part of Scotland, in the time 
of Heremon, the son of king Milesius, as will appear hereafter, 
when Vie come to the reign of that prince. 

We are informed by Charles Mac Cuillenan, in his Psalter of 
Cashel, that the Welsh, in Britain, descended originally from 
this Briotan Maol, and the most ancient manuscripts of Ireland 
give the same account ; as the poet observed in his poem, which 
begins thus, Adamh athair smith ar sluagh, Adam was our 
father, kc, tiie verses follow. 


— — ' Tho brave Nemedian train, 

Under Briotan launch into the main ; 

A prince, whom all the ancient annals trace. 

As tLe great founder of the British race. 

Another poet and antiquary makes the same remark in thi,.! 

The warlike Welsh the great Briotan claim, 
To be the founder of the British najie. 

A nd we have more reason to suppose that the word Britannia 
was derived originally from this Briotan, than from Brutus the 
Trojan, which- is a fable that some historians are very fond of; 
fur if it were so, it would rather be called Brutannia. Besides 
wo are informed by Geoffry of Monmouth, that the ancient name 
.ofc" the country was changed by the three sons of Brutus ; his 
son Laegrus called his part of the kingdom Laegria ; Camber, 
the second son, distinguished his share by the name of Cambria; 
and Albanactus, the third son, would have his part known by 
the name of Albania. So that this account, from the authentic 
records of the Irish naticUj gives a great light to the name of 
Britain, and deserves our belief, rather than the fabulous rela- 
tions of partial and romantic writers, who have been tho bane 
mid destruction of true history. 

The Nemedians, who remained in Ireland, were sorely 
oppressed by the tyranny of their African masters, till the pos • 
tority of Simon Breac, the son of Stairn, the son of Nemedius, 
who had settled in Greece, came into the island. These people 
were called FirboJgs, and landed in the country 217 years after 
Nemedius first arrived upon the coast. This is the ob&ervati'ju 
of an old poet, who has these lines, 

Seventeen above two hundred years had past 
Since first Nemediiis lauded on the coast, 
Till the bold f irbolgs left the Grecian shore, 
For liberty, and would be slaves no more. 


Simon Breac, the son of Stairn, the son of Nemedius, with 
his followers landed in Greece, where the posterity of these 
adventurers settled, and in process of time increased to be a 
numerous people. The Grecians, out of fear they should attempt 
against the government, and occasion disorders in the state, 
i-esolved to use them like slaves more than subjects ; they op- 
pressed them with hard lal'^^i*' iuj the severest drudgery , the^ 


forced them to sink pits, and dig clay in the valleys, and carry 
it in leathern bags to the top of the highest mountains, and the 
most craggy rocks, in order to form a soil upon those barren 
places, and make them fruitful, and bear corn. The Nemedians, 
groaning under the weight of this servitude, came to a resolu- 
tion to shake off the yoke, and to quit the country ; this design 
was kept so secret, that the chief of the Nemedians seized upon 
some of the Grecian shipping, as the White book, called Cion 
Droma Sneachta, gives the account, and with five thousand that 
followed them they set to sea, and sailed till they arrived upon 
the coast of Ireland. This tribe, whose ancestors came to 
Greece with Simon Breac, the son of Stairn, landed ii; the 
island about 216 years a-fter the death of Nemedius. They had 
five principal leaders in this voyage, Slainge, Eughraidhe, Gann, 
Geanann, and SeangauA. These commanders were the sous of 
Loich, son of Triobhuaith, son of Othoirbh, son of Goisdean, 
son of Oirtheachta, son of Simon, son of Arglamb, son of 
Beoan, son of Stairn, son of Nemedius, son of Adnamuin, son 
of Parap, son of Tait, son of Seam, son of Sru, son of Easru, 
son of Framaint, son of Fathochta, son of Magog, son of Japhet, 
son of Noah. They had their five wives with them, Fuaid, Eadair, 
Anuist, Cnucha, and Labhra ; as the poet records in these lines, 

Those brave commanders, Slainge, Gann, and Seangann, 

With Geanann and Eughraidhe, heroes all, 

And their five wives, the beautiful Fuaid, 

The fair Eadair, Aduist the chaste, 

The virtuous Cnucha, Labhra born for love, 

Cheerfully followed by five thousand men, 

AYho scorn'd the Grecian servitude, set sail, 

And safely landed on the Irish shore. 

These five princes, the chief leaders of the Firbolg?, divided 
tlifi island between them into five almost equal parts : as tho 
poet observes in this manner, 

Five warlike chiefs, Geanann, Eughraidhoi, 
Gann, Slainge, and Seangann, shared the island. 

Slaigne, from whom Inbher Slainge, by Wexford, received its 
name, had to his share the province of Leinster, from Inbhc;r 
Colpa, near Drocheda, to the meeting of the three streams, and 
a thousand persons were allotted to him. Gann possessed all 
from thence to Bealach Conglais, and .he took his thousand 
with him. Seangann ruled the country from thence to Limti- 

OTi' IR'ELAND. 83 

ricli, and had a thousand for his share. Geanann governed the 
province of Conacht, from Limerick to Drabhaois, near Droc- 
heda, he had likewise his thousand : and Rughraidhe, with his 
thousand followers^ enjoyed the province of Ulster, from Drobhaois 
to Drocheda. From these five sons of Dela, and the people that 
followed them, descended the Firbolgs, the Firdhomhnoins, and 
the Firgailiains, who were so called for these reasons. The 
Firbolgs were those Nemedians whose business it was, in Greece, 
to carry those leathern bags of earth before-mentioned, and from 
hence they received their name ; for the word Bolg signifies a 
bag, and Fir signifies men, which, compounded, make Firbolgs. 
The second tribe were called Firdhomhnoins ; their ofiice was 
to sink deep pits in the earth, and dig out the clay for their 
fellows to carry ; they were called Firdhomhnoin, because Fir 
signifies men, and Domhnoin signifies cteep, which relates to tha 
deep holes they were obliged to dig, and the words when they 
are joined, sound Firdhomhnoin. The third tribe were always 
under arms to protect the other tribes in their work, and to 
guard them from their enemies, who otherwise might come upon 
them fatigued and unarmed ; they w^ere called Firgailiains, for Fir 
signifies men, and Gaiiiain signifies a spear, which they used in 
their defence, which words, put together, make Firgailiain. 

These five sons of Dela arrived in Ireland in the compass of 
a week ; Slainge landed upon a Saturday at Tnbher Slainge, 
which for that reason was so called, for Inbher signifies a river, 
and Slainge sailing up that river, and landing in that place, the 
stream was afterwards called Inbher Slainge ; this river runs 
through part of Leinster to Wexford. Gann and Seangann, the 
Tuesday following came on shore, at Jorrus Domhnoin, in 
Conacht ; and Geanann and Rughraidhe arrived the Friday 
Sifter, at a place called Tracht Rughraidhe. The Nemedians, 
that followed Slainge, were called Firbolgs, and the two thou- 
sand that belonged to Geanann and Rughraidhe went by the 
name of the Firdhomhnoins. Some antiquaries are of opinion, 
that these two princes, with their number of men, landed in tha 
north-west of Conacht, at a place called Inbher Domhnoin, 
'.vhich afterwards for that reason, was distinguished by that 
name ; yet, generally speaking, all the people who followed the 
f^.ve sons of Dela in this expedition, were known by the name 
of Firbolgs, and before these five generals arrived in the island, 
we have no account of any that could properly be called kings 
of Ireland ; as the poet informs us in these lines : 


riftysix years the Firbolgs royal line 
"VVtre kings, ar.d then tlie sceptre they resign 
'i o the Tuatha de Danans 


1. Slainge, the son of Dela, son of Loich, the chief commander 
Df the Firbolgs, was the first monarch of Ireland ; he reigned 
one year, and died at a place called Dumha Slainge. 

2. Ilughraidhe, son of Dela, son of Loich, succeeded ; he en- 
joyed the crown but two years, and was drowned in the Boyne. 

3. Geanann and Seangaun, sons of Dela, ruled the kingdorn 
together ; their reign lasted but four years, and they died at a 
place called Freamhain., 

4. Gann, the son of Dela, son of Loich, succeeded his brothers; 
he governed five years, and was slain by Fiacha Cinnfionnan. 

5. He was succeeded by Fiacha Cinnfionnan, the son of Stairn, 
son of Riighraidhe, son of Dela, son of Loich ; he reigned five 
years, and was slain by Riondal, son of Geannan, son of Dela, 
son of Loich. This monarch was called Fiacha Cinnfhionnanj 
because most of the Irish, in his time, were remarkable for their 
white or fair hair; for the word Cinnfhion signifies white heads, 
which was the occasion of that part of his name. 

6. His successor wa,s Kiondal, the son of Geanann, son of 
Dela, son of Loich j he enjoyed the crown six years, and was 
killed in an engagement by Fiodhbhghean, at a place called 

7. Fiodhbhghean, the son of Seangann, son of Dela, son of 
Loich, succeeded him ; he reigned four years, and fell in battle, 
as he fought against Eochaidh, son of Eire, at a place called 
Muigh Muirtheimhne. 

8. Eochaidh, son of Eire, son of Riondal, son of Geanann, son 
of Dela, son of Loich, succeeded and enjoyed the crown longer 
than any of his predecessors, for he reigned ten jesivs. This was 
a very fortunate, prince ; for in his time the weather was tempe- 
rate and healthy, the produce of the earth was not damaged by 
any immoderate rains, and plenty and prosperity prevailed 
through the whole island. He was the first monarch who re- 
strained the outrages of his people by laws, and kept them in 
obedience arid civility by v/holesome pui»,shments. He at last 
fell in battle, engaging with the three sons of Neimhidh, son of 
Badhraoi, at a place called Muighe Tuirridh. The names of 
these brothers were Ceasarb, Luacro and Luaim. In the reign 
of this prince who was the last monarch of Ireland of the Fir 

OF mtl.AND. 8 J 

bolgs race, the Tiiatha de Danans invaded the island. He mar- 
ried Taiite, the daughter of Maghmore, king of Spain ; when she 
died she was buried in a place, which from her was called Tail- 
tean, and it is known by the same name to this day. 

The king of the^uatha de Danans, when they invaded Ireland, 
was Nuadha Airgiodlamh, that is silver-handed. This prince 
engaged Eochaidh, and a most desperate battle was fought at 
Magh Tuirriodh, between the two kings, in which Eochaidh, the 
son of Eire, was routed, and ten thousand, or according to others 
an hundred thousand of the Firbolgs were slain. In this action 
Nuadha Airgiodlamh lost his hand, and the wound was seven 
years under cure, and he was forced to have a silver hand fixed 
to his arm, from whence he was called Nuadha Airgiodlamh, that 
is, Nuadha the silver-handed. The Firbolgs, who escaped this 
defeat retired to the isle of Arran, Eilie, Rachruin, Inis Gall, 
aud other places for safety, where they could best secure them- 
selves from the Tuatha de Danans, and there they remained till 
the provential times, when every one of the provinces of Ireland 
was governed by its own king. About that time the Picts ex- 
pelled them out of these places, and forced them to apply to 
Carbry Niafer, king of Leinster, who received them, and gave 
them lands to cultivate as tenants under him ; but he exacted 
such rents of them, and was so oppressive in the revenues he 
demanded, that they were obliged to give up their farms, and 
move to Conacht. They desired the protection of Meidheibh 
Chrachna, the queen of that province, who prevailed upon her 
husband Oliolla, to bestow some lands upon them for their sup- 
port. Anogus, the son of Nuadmor, was the prince of the Fir- 
bolgs at that time ; and the possessions they enjoyed in Couacht 
are known to this day by some of the names of that people ; such 
are Cime, Ceithirchinn, Roinn, Jamhain, Loch Cathro, Rinn, 
Meadhra, Molinn, Dun Aonguis, in Arran, Carn Conuil, Magh 
Naduir, Magh Nasuil, Magh Maoin, Loch Uair, and many others. 
The Firbolgs were dispersed into several islands, and other parts 
of the country, till Congcuilion and Conuil, Cearnach and Ulster, 
quite drove them out of the kingdom. We have no account, in 
our annals, that the Firbolgs, during their continuance in the 
island, erected any royal seats or edifices of note, or made any 
great improvements, by clearing the lands of woods, or that any 
lake or river began to flow since their arrival at first till the time 
they were finally expelled the country, 

. There are three families in Ireland, as our antiquaries inform 
us, that are lineal desceudants of the Firbolgs, and net of the 



Gadelian race, which are Gabhraidhe, in Succa, in Conacbt ; Ui 
Tairsigh, in Crioch 6 Failge, and Gailiuin, in Leinster. And this 
is all the account of the Firbolgs that can be extracted from the 
ancient records of Ireland ; and we have no small assistance, in 
writing the history of the people, from the famous antiquaiy Ta- 
nuidhe, 6 Maol Conaire, who begins his poem in this manner , 

Under five chiefs the Firbolgs once possess'd 
The island, till at last, by force ojjpress'd, | 
They fled. 


The Tuatha de Danans were the posterity of those who followed 
the third son of Nemedius out of Ireland, when the Africans had 
usurped the kingdom, and enslaved the inhabitants. This peo- 
ple, rather than bear the heavy oppressions of those pirates, 
left the island, under the command of Jarbhainel Faidh, a son 
of Nemedius, and arrived, if we b^Heve some antiquaries, in 
Boeotia ; others say that they came to Athens, and settled near 
the city of Thebes ; yet the truest account is, that they landed 
in Achaia, a country of Greece, that borders upon Boeotia, an4 
near it stands the city of Thebes, according to the account of 
Pomponius Mela. Here it was that the Tuatha de Danans learned 
the art of necromancy and enchantment ; and they became so 
expert in magical knowledge, that they had a power of working 
wonderful feats, so far as seemingly to raise the dead : for when 
the country of Achaia, and the city of Athens was invaded by 
the Assyrians, and several battles fought between them, these 
sorcerers would use their diabolical charms, and revive the bodies 
of the dead Athenians, and the next day bring them into the 
field, which so dispirited the Assyrians that they began to de- 
spair of victory, and thought to, give over the enterprise, and to 
return into their own country ; for to what purpose was it to 
fight, and come off conquerors one day, when they were to en- 
counter the same enemies the next ? and these enchanters were 
BO dexterous in their art, as, by the assistance of evil spirits, to 
infuse fresh life 9.nd vigour into the bodies of the slain, so that 
the Athenians were sure never to be overcome. But the Assy- 
rians resolved to take the advice of a druid of great learniiig 
among them, and, if possible, to discover in what manner they 
could defeat the skill of those necromancers, and break the power 
of their charms. The druid told them, that after a battle was 
over, they should thrust a club or a stake of quick-beam wood 
through every one of the dead bodies, which would have this 


effect, iliat if it wns the power of the devil by which they were 
brought to life, this counter-charm would defeat the skill of the 
enchanters, and the bodies could never more be revived, but if 
it was the hand of heaven that brought to pass this wonderful 
event, it was impossible to withstand an Almighty power, ana 
their securest way was, to desist from the undertaking. Tlie 
Assyrians, relying upon the advice of the druid, immediately 
challenged the Athenians to a pitched battle, when they fought 
with great courage, and obtained a complete victory ; and after tb.e 
fight, they drove stakes through the bodies of the dead Athenians, 
and so the evil spirits had no more power totake possession of thera, 
and the sorcerers were disappointed. The Tuatha de Danans, 
perceiving their art to be ineffectual, came to a resolution of 
quitting the country, for fear of falling into the hands of the 
Assyrians ; accordingly they set out, and wandered from place 
to place, till they came to Norway and Denmark, where they 
were received with great hospitality by the inhabitants, who ad- 
mired them for their learning and skill in magic, and the won- 
derful effects of their enchantments. 

The person, who was the principal commander of these people 
in their travels, was Nuadhah Airgiodlamh, that is, the silver- 
handed, who descended from Nemedius. The Danes, being a very 
barbarous and illiterate nation, entertained such a regard for 
these strangers, that they gave them four cities to inhabit, where 
they should erect schools to instruct the youth of the country in 
their diabolical learning. The names of these cities were Falias, 
Gorias, Finnias, and Murias, In each city the Tuatha de Danans 
appointed tutors as presidents of these schools ; they were persons 
of the greatest skill among them ; Moirfhias was to teach in -the 
city Failias, Arias in i\e city Finnias, Erus in the city Gorias, 
and Semias in the city Murias. 

When the Tuatha de Danans had continued for some time in 
this country, they thought fit to move, and lookout for a new settle- 
inent ; and they arrived in the north of Scotland, where they con- 
tinued sevoD years, near Dobhar and Jardobliar. "From the four 
cities which they possessed in Denmark and Norway, they brought 
Rwo.y four curiosities or monuments of great antiquity. The 
firbt waB a stone, which was called Lia fail, and was brought from 
the city of Falias ; from which stone that city received its name. 
This stone was possessed of a very wonderful virtue, for it would 
make a strange noise, and be surprisingly disturbed, whenever a 
jTionarch of Ireland was crowrted upon it ; which emotion it con- 
tinued to siiow till the bn-tii ot Ctinst, who contracted the pow«r 


of the devil, and in a great measure put an end to his delusions, 
It was called the Fatal stone, and gave a name to Inis fail, as the 
poet observes in these verses : 

From this strange stone did Inisfail obtain 
Its name, a tract surrounded by the main. 

This stone called Lia fail, had likev7ise the name of the Fatal 
stone j or the Stone of destiny ; because a very ancient pro- 
phecy belonged to it, which foretold, that in whatever country 
this stone should be preserved, a prince of the Scythian race, 
that is, of the family of Milesius, king of Spain, should undoubt- 
edly govern ; as Hector Boetius gives the account, in his history 
of Scotland. 

Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque locatum 
Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem. 

In the Irish language it runs thus : 

Cineadh Suit saor an fine munab breag an f haisdine, 
Mar abhfuigid an Lia fail dlighid flaithios do ghabhail. 

In English : . ' 

Unless the fix'd decrees of fate give way, 
The Scots shall govern, and the scepter sway, 
Where'er tliis stone they find, and its dread sound obey. 

When the Scythians were informed of the solemn virtue of 
this stone, Fergus the great, the son of Earca, having subdued 
the kingdom of Scotland, resolved to be crowned upon it. For 
this- purpose, he sent messengers to his brother Mortough, the 
8on of Earca, a descendant from Heremon, who was king of Ire- 
land at that time, to desire that he would send him that stone, 
to make his coronation the more solemn, and to perpetuate the 
succession in his family. His brother willingly complied with 
his request ; the stone was sent, and Fergus received the crown 
of Scotland upon it. This prince was the first monarch of 
Scotland of the Scythian or Gadelian race ; and, though some of 
the Picts had the title of kings of Scotland, yet they were no 
more than tributary princes to the kings of Ireland, from the 
reion of Heremond, who expelled them the kingdom of Ireland 
and forced them into Scotland, where they settled. Fergus, 
therefore, was the first absolute monarch of Scotland, who ac- 
know! 'dged no foreign yoke, nor p^id any homage to any foreign 
p iuce Tnis stone of destiny was presened with great venera- 


tion and esteem, in the abbey of Scone, till Edward I. of Eng- 
land carried it away by violence, and placed it under the coro- 
nation chair in Westminster-abbey, by which means the prophecy 
that attended it seems to be accomplished; for the royal family 
of the Stuarts succeeded to the throne of England soon after 
the removal of this stone ; a family that descended lineally from 
the Scythian race, from Maine Leamhna, son of Core, king of 
Munster, son of Luighdheach, son of Oilioll Flanbeg, son of 
Fiacha Muilieathan, iiing of Munster, son of Eogan Mor, son of 
Oilioll Ollum, king of Munster, who descended lineally from 
Heberus Fionn, son of Milesius, king of Spain, every prince of 
which illustrious family successively received the crown upon 
this stone. 

The second valuable monument of antiquity, that the Tuatha 
de Danans brought away from the Danes, and carried with them 
into Ireland, was the sword which Luighaidh Lamhfhada, that 
is, the Long-handed; used in battle, which they conveyed from 
the city Gorias. The third curiosity was a spear, which the 
same prince used to fight with ; it was lodged in the city Finias, 
but removed by these necromancers into Ireland. The fourth 
was a cauldron, called Coirean Daghdha, that was carried off 
ft'om the city Murias. These transactions are recorded in a 
poem, to be found in the Book of Invasions : the verses are 
these : 

• Thb Tuatha de Danans, 

By force of potent spells and wicked magic, 
And conjurations horrible to hear, 
Could set the ministers of hell at work, * 

And raise a slaughter'd army fi-om the earth, 
And make them live, and breathe, and tight again. 
Few coidd their arts withstand or charms unbind. 
These sorcerers long time in Greece had felt 
The smart of slavery, till sore oppress'd, 
And brought in bondage, the bold Jarbhanel, 
Son of Nemedius, son of Adnomhoin, 
Resolv'd no longer to endure the yoke 
Of servitude, a fleet prepar'd, and wandering 
Long time from sea to sea, at length arrivVl, 
. With all his followers, on the coasts of Norway. 
The kind Norwegians receiv'd the strangers. 
And hospitably lodg'd them from the cold. 
But, when they saw their necromantic art, 
How they had fiends and spectres at command, 
And from the tombs could call the stalking ghosts, 
And mutter words, and sxxmmon hideous forms 
From hell, and from the bottom of the deep 
They thought them gods, and not of raorta,!. race :; ■ --' 


And gave them cities, and'ador'd their learning, 

And begg'd them to communicate their art, 

And teach the Danish youth their mysteries. 

The towns Avhereiu they taught their magic skill 

Were Falias, Finias, Murias, Gorias. 

Four men, well read in hellish wickedness, 

Moirfhias the chief, a wizard of renown, 

And subtle Erus, Arias skilled in charms, 

And Semias fam'd for spells — these foiur presided 

In the four towns, to educate the youth. 

At length these strolling necromancers sail'd 

From Norway, and land(id on the northern sho.'e 

Of Scotland ; but perfidiously convey'd • 

Four monuments of choice antiquity, 

From the four cities given them by the Danes ; 

From Falias, the stone of destiny ; 

From Gorias they brought the well-try'd sword 

Of Lixighaidh ; from Finias, a spear , 

From Mui-ias, a cauldi'on. 

The Taatha de Danans coutinuod seven years in the north of 
Scotland, and then they reiDioved to Ireland. They arrived 
there upon the first Monday in the month of May, and imme- 
diately set fire to their shipping ; as the poet observes in this 

They land upon the shore, and then they burn 
Their ships, resolving never to return. 

When they came upon the coast, they had recourse to their 
enchantments to screen them from the observation of the inhabi- 
tants j and accordingly, by their magic skill, they formed a mist 
about them for three days and three nights, and in this undis- 
cemed manner they marched through the country, without be- 
ing discovered by the Firbolgs, till they came to a place called 
Sliabh an Jaruin, from whence they dispatched ambassadors to- 
Eochaidh, son of Eire, and to the nobility of the Firbolgs. to 
demand the kingdom, or challenge them to a decisive battle. 
Tnis audacious summons surprised the king, who immediately 
raised an army, and, with all the forces of his country, he &.d- 
vanced to give them battle. This prince, and his soldiery, 
engaged with great bravery against the Tuatha de Danans, and 
the fight was bloody and desperate on both sides ; but the Fir- 
bolgs, unable to withstand the enchantments of their enemies, 
were at last defeated, with the loss of ten thousand, or, as other 
histories, with more probability, inform us, of an hundred thou- 
sand, upon the spot. It wa^ the distance of thirty years between 


the battle of south Miiighe Tairreadh, and the battle of north 
Miiighe TuHTeadh ; as the poet computes in these verses : 

Since the sharp fight at south Muighe TuiiTeadh 
- To the battle fought at north Muighe Tuirreadh, 

Where Ballar, the great general, was slain. 
Was thirty yeara 

Sorre of the antiquaries of Ireland are of opinion, that the 
Tiuitba de Danans were so called, because they were the descen- 
dants of the three sons of Danan, the daughter of Dealbaoith, 
soja of Ealathan, son of Neid. The names of th6se brothers 
were Bryan, Juchor, and Juchorba; their grandfather was Deal- 
baoith, son of Ealathan, son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son of 
Ailaoi, son of Tait, son of Tabhairn, son of Eana, son of Baath, 
son of Ibath, son of Jarbhainel Faidh, son of Nemedius. This 
colony of people were called Tuatha de Danans, as they were 
the posterity of the three sons of Danan, who were so expert in 
the black art, and the mystery of charms and enchantments, 
that the inhabitants of the country where they lived, distin- 
guished them by the name of gods ; as appears from an oil 
poem that begins thus, Eisdig a Eolacha gan on, &c., wherein 
these three brothers are styled deities ; the lines are these : 

The Tuatha de Danans had their name 
From the three brothers, Bryan, Juchorba. 
And Jiichor, slain by Logha, son of Eithiean. 

From Danan, the mother of these brothers, the two hills at 
Luachair Dheagha, in Desmond, were called da Chidh Danan. 

There is another opinion among learned antiquaries, that the 
Tuatha de Danans were so called, because they were divided into 
three tribes. The first was known by the name of Tuatha, and 
consisted of the nobility and the principal leaders of the colony ; 
for Tuatha signifies a lord or commander ; and from hence it 
vras, that the two beautiful women Beachoil and Danan, were 
>:alled Bantuathachs, that is, ladies ; as the poet remai'ks in 
this manner : 

Beachoil and Danan, whose charms divine 
In every air and every feature shine, 
♦ Were ladies, deeply versed in magic skill, 

But by decree of fate imtimely fell. 

The second tribe of the Tuatha de Danans was called Doe, 
fhat is, gods; these were druids or priests. The third tribe 


was styled Deo Danans, that is, Gods of Danan ; they chiefly 
applied to the study of poetry, and the art of composing verses ; 
for Dan signifies art, and likewise a poem or song. The three 
sons of Danan, Bryan, Juchor, and Juchorba, were called gods, 
from their surprising performances in the black art ; and they 
had the name also of Tuatha de Danans, because they were the 
chief lords and commanders of the whole colony. 



The family of Eochaidh Ollamh was descended from Daghdhfe-, 
Ogma, Alloid, Breas and Dealbhaoith, the five sons of Ealthan, 
son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son of Allaoi, son of Tait, son of 
Tabhairn, son of Eana, son of Bathath, son of Jobhath, son of 
Beothaidh, son of Jarbhainel Faidh, son of Nemedius, son of 
Adnamain and Mananan, son of Alloid, son of Dealbhaoith. 
The six sons of Dealbhaoith were Ogmha, Fiacha, Ollamh, 
Jondaoi, Bryan, Juchor, and Juchorba, Aongus, Hugh, Cearmad 
and Midhir, were the four sons of Daghdha. Lughaidh, the 
son of Cein, son of Dianceacht, son of Easaraig, son of Neid, 
sons of Jondaoi Gabhneoin ; also Ceidne, Dianceacht, and Luch- 
tain Cairbry, the famous poet, son of Taro, son of Turril. 
Bithro, son of Carbrie, Caitchean, son of Tabhairn, Fiacha, son 
of Dealbhaoith, and his son Ollamh, son of Fiacha Caicer Neach- 
tain, son of Mamaith, son of Echoaidh Garbh, son of Duach 
Doill Siodhmall, son of Cairbre Crom, son of Ealcmhuir, son 
of Dealbhaoith, Eire Fodhla, and Banba, were the three 
daughters of Fiacha, son of Dealbhaoith, son of Ogma ; and 
Einin, the daughter of Eadarlamh, was the mother of these three 
sisters. Their female deities were Badhbha, Macha, and Morio- 
gan. Their ladies of beauty and quality were Danan and Beo- 
'. chuill ; Bridhid was a poetess of note. They had two eminent 
princes, Fea and Mean, who gave the name to Magh Feidh- 
mhuin, in Munster : they possessed Triathre Tore, from whence 
Trithtirne, in Munster, was bo called. They defeated the 
African pirates in the battle of north Muighe Tuirreadh ; and 
routed the Firbolgs in south Muighe Tuirreadh. In the first of 
these engagements Nuagatt had his hand cut off, in the latter 
he lost his head. 

OF IKEL.\NU. 93 


Nuadha Airgiodlamh, or the silver -handed, the son of Each- 
tach, son of Eadarlamh, son of Ordan, son of Allai, son of Tait, 
Kon of Tabhran, son of Eana, son of Baath, son of Jobhath, son 
of Beothach, son of Jarbhainel Faidh, son of Nemedius, son of 
Adnamain, reigned king of Ireland thirty years, and was slain 
by Ealadh, son of Dealbhaoith, and by Ballar na Neid, in the 
battle of north Muighe Tuirreadh. 

BreaSj son of Ealathan, son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son of 
Allai, son of Tabharn, son of Eana, son of Baath, son of Ibhath, 
son of Beothach, son of Jarbhainel Faidh, son of Nemedius, 
succeeded and reigned seven years. 

Luighaidh Lamfhadha, or the long-handed, was his successor; 
he was the son of Cein, g-on of Dianceatch, son of Eachtairg- 
breac, son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son of Allai, and his reign 
continued forty years. This prince first ordained the assembly 
of Tailtean, in honour to the memory of Tailte, the daughter of 
Magh Mor, king of Sp?iu. She was wife to Eochaidh, son of 
Eire, the late king of the Firbolgs, and was afterwards married 
to Duach Doil, a great general of that colony ; she took care of 
the education of this Luighaidh, in his minority, and had him 
instructed in the max'ms of government : in gratitude for the 
favours he had received, from the care and tuition of this lady, 
he instituted the assembly of Tailtean, and appointed tilts and 
tournaments as a tribute to her memory. These warlike exer- 
cises resembled the old Olympic games, and were observed upon 
the first of August every year ; a day which is still distin- 
guished by the name of Lughnansa, from this Lughaidh, king of 

Daghdah the Great succeeded ; he was the son of Ealathan, 
son of Dealbhaoith, son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son of Allai, 
son of Tait, son of Tabhairn. son of Eana, son of Baath, son of 
Jobhath, son of Beothach, son of Jarbhainel Faidh, son of Ne- 
medius ; his reign was seventy years. 

Dealbhaoith, the son of Oghmhagrian Eigis, son of Ealathan, 
son of Dealbhaoith, son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son of Allai, 
son of Tait, son of Tabhairn, son of Eana, son of Baath, son of 
Jobhath, son of Beothach, son of Jarbhainel Faidh, son of Ne- 
medius, reigned next ; he was king of Ireland ten years. 

Fiachadh succeeded ; he was the son of Dealbhaoith, son of 
fialathan, son of Dealbhaoith, son of Neid, son of Jondaoi, son 


of Allai, s.on of Tait, son of Tabhairn, son of Eaua, son of Baath, 
son of Jobhaith, son of Beothach, son of Jarbhainel, son of Ne- 
medius ; he sat upon the throne ten yearS; and was slain by one 
Eogan, at a place called Ard Breac. 

Macuill, Maceacht and Mac Greine, the three sons of Cear- 
mada Mirbheool, the son of Daghdha, succeeded. These princes 
reigned thirty years, and some of the Irish antiquaries imagine 
that the island was divided between the three brothers, into three 
(n\u3i[ parts : they depended upon the authority of an old poet, 
<vho says, 

Throe brothers, Macuill, Maceacht, and Mac Grehie, 
DivLded equally the idle between them 

But this appears to be a mistake, for the kingdom of Ireland 
was*riever thus divided. These three princes, I confess, ruled al- 
ternately, one every year, which seems to give occasion for this 
opinion. The reason why they were called Macuill, Maceacht, 
and Mac Greine, was, because the idols they severally worshipped 
were distinguished by these names. Macuill adored for his deity, 
Cuill, that is, a log of wood ; Maceacht worshipped Ceacht, in 
English, a plough- share ; and Mac Greine chose Grian for his 
god, which signifies the sun. But the proper names of these 
princes were, Eathoir, Teathoir, and Ceathoir. Eathoir, or Ma- 
ceacht, had Banba for his wife ; Teathoir, or Macuill, was married 
to Fodhla ; and Ceathoir, who was called Mac Greine, was the 
husband of Eire. The right name, likewise, of Oirbhsion, was 
Mananan ; from him Loch Oirbhsion was so called, because, when 
his grave was digging, the lake broke out ; as the poet thus observes, 


A fierce, a ciiiel, but a warlike prince, 
Paid homage to a log ; his wife was Banba. 
Brave Teathoir the charming Fodhla chose, 
A hero, wise and valiant, but ador'd 
A rusty plough -share for his god ; his brother 
Was Ceathoir, generous and bold, his queen 
Was the fair Eire, and his god, the sun. 
I Oirbhsion properly was Mananan called ; 

From him Loch Oirbhsion received a name. 

The Psalter of Cashel computes the whole time that the Tualha 
da Danans continued in Ireland, to be a hundred and ninety- 
seven years ; as the poet expresses it thus, 

A hundred and ninety-seven years complete, 
Tlie Tuatha ^2 Danans, a famous colony, 
The Irish scepter sway'd. 



In order to observe a method and regularity in describing the 
original of the Scythians, I am to take notice, that they were 
the posterity of Japhet, the son of Noah ; Moses, in settling the 
genealogy of the patriarchs, in the tenth chapter of the book of 
Genesis makes mention of two sons of Japhet, Gomer and Ma- 
gog. Gomer, he says, had three sons, Ashkenaz, Riphath, and 
Togarmah, but the sacred penman gives no account of the sous 
of Magog, who was the great ancestor of the Scythian nation. 
It is the business of this history, therefore, to be as particular 
as may be, in tracing the lineal descendants of this son of 
Japhet, which I find recorded in the Book of Invasions, upon 
whose authority we may depend ; for the whole account is 
faithfully collected and transcribed, from the most valuable and 
authentic chronicles of the Irish affairs, particularly from that 
choice volume, called Leabhar dhroma sneacbta, or the White 
book, that was written before St. Patrick first arrived in Ireland 
to propagate Christianity in the country. 

We are informed by this ancient manuscript, that Magog had 
three sons, their names were Baath, Jobhath, and Fathochta ; 
fi'om Bjiath, descended Feniusa Farsa, king of Scythia, who was 
the founder of the Gadelians, The posterity of Jobhath wer^?, 
the Amazons, the Bactrians, and the Parthians. Fathochta 
was the ancestor of Partholanus, who first settled a colony in 
Ireland after the Flood. Nemedius, the Firbolgs and Tuatha 
de Danans, the Longorbardians, the Hunus, Goths, and many 
other nations, descended from Magog, and came originally out 
of Scythia. Atyla, who called himself the scourge of God, and 
the terror of the world, was likewise of the posterity of Magog. 
This warlike Scythian conquered Panonia, and troubled the 
Roman empire for many years ; he overran Italy, and fought 
with great bravery against the Germans. Peliorbes, the king of 
the Hunns, was a Scythian, who made war upon Justinian, the 
Roman emperor ; the inhy ])itants of Daunia, a part of the coui> 


try of Apulia, owe their original to the Scythians, as do the 
gi-eatest number of the people in the Turkish empire. 

Epiphanius is of opinion, that the Scythian monarchy began 
soon after the Flood, and continued to the captivity of Babylon ; 
he says, farther, that the la^vs, customs, and manners of the 
Scythians were received by the other nations as the standards 
of policy, civility, and polite learning, and that they were the 
first after the Flood, who attempted to reform mankind into 
notions of courtesy, into the art of government, and the prac- 
tice of good manners. Johannes Boemus, in the ninth chapter 
of his second volume, where he treats of the laws and customs 
of all nations, remarks, that the Scythians were never corrupted 
by the rude and savage behaviour of any foreign nation j and 
Josephus observes, that the Grecians call the Scythians by the 
name of Magogi, because they were the descendants of Magog. 

It is the observation of Joliannes Nauclerus, that the Scy- 
thians were always famous for worthy and heroic acts, and that 
historians, when they speak of them, give them the character of 
a brave and generous people. Heroc^ptus, in his fourth book, 
tells us, that Darius the powerful, king of Persia, was expelled 
by the Scythians out of their country, with infamy and dis- 
grace ; and this is confirmed by Justin, the abbreviator of Tro- 
gus, who, enlarging upon the military exploits of the Scythian 
nation, gives this glorious account of them :* " The Scythians 
were either always free from the attempts of any other nation, 
or came off conquerors when they were attacked ; they drove 
Darius, the Persian king, out of Scythia, who was glad to save 
himself by a cowardly and ignominious flight ; they killed 
Cyrus and his whole army ; they fought with the same succ/css 
against Zopyron, one of Alexander's generals, and destroyed him 
and all his forces ; they had heard indeed of the arms of the 
Romans, but never felt them." A character that no other peo- 
ple of the world so eminently deserved, and which we have no 
reason to suspect of partiality, as it oame from an author who 
vvas a Roman, who seldom bestows too large encomiums upon the 
military exploits of any foreign or barbarous nation. 

The author of the Polichronicon, in the thirty- seventh chap- 
ter of his first book, informs us, that the posterity of Gadelaa 
were called Scythi or Scythians. The word Scythi, he says, 

* ScythiB ipsi perpetuo ab alieno imperio ant intacti aut invicti manserunt; 
Darlum, regem Persarum, turpi ab Scythia smnmovenmt fuga ; Cyrum, cum 
orani sxercitu, trucidarunt ; Alexandrv magni ducem Zopyrona, pari 
cum copiis universis deleveruct > Romanorum' audivere sed non sensere arma. . 


is derived from Sciut. It is certain, that the Milesians may 
with equal propriety, be called Scythians, from the word Scuit 
as the old English in Ireland are styled Goill, from Gallia, which 
is the country from whence they were originally descended ; so 
that the Ga.delians may, with the same right, be called Scythians, 
from Scythia, as the old English are called Goill, from the coun 
try of Gaul, from whence they came. 

These observations, which I have collected from the learned 
manuscripts and annals of our own nation, and from the autho- 
rity of foreign historians, make it evident, I presume, that the 
Gadelians, and by consequence the Milesians, are properly dis- 
tinguished by the name of Scythians ; as they owe their original 
to those illustrious people, and are descendants from a nation so 
fa^mous for civility, for good laws, and good government ; and 
their posterity, the Gadelians, always approved themselves wor- 
thy of so brave ancestors, for they retained the same love for 
politeness, for learning and learned men, they fought valiantly 
in the field, were faithful allies, peaceable to their neighbours, 
but severe revengers of broken leagues and abused faith. Their 
monarchy continued in Ireland under eighty-one absolute kings, 
of their own blood, and of the Gadelian family, not to mention 
a great number of their provincial princes, and other illustrious 
nobility, by which they may justly claim a relation to the war- 
like, the civilized, and learned Scythians, who make such a fig-are 
in history, and are justly esteemed the standards of probity, 
bravery, and honour, throughout the world. 

Nor are we to forget in this place, that the posterity of Niul, 
the son of Feniusa Farsa, were generally called Scythians. 
This Niul was the second son of Feniusa Farsa, and had no 
share of the government allowed him by his father, or his elder 
brother, who succeeded. He was sent abroad with a numerous 
attendance, to travel into foreign parts ; and when became near the 
borders of Egypt, he ordered his people, whom he designed to settle 
as a colony in some convenient country, not to forget that they 
were the natives of Scythia, that they should distinguish them- 
selves by the name of Scuit or Scots, that their posterity might 
be ever mindful of their original, and glory in being descendants 
of the Scythian nation. This young prince had no other portion 
given him by his father, but the privilege of travelling, the 
benefit of the public schools, and to improve himself in the 
seventy-two learned languages, for Feniusa Farsa left his mon- 
archy entire to Neauul, his eldest son. 



Tlici*'e" some of the Latin authors, who imagine that Gado- 
las was the son of Argos or Secrops, who was king of the Argivi, 
that is,, the Grecians, called in the old Irish Gaoidheal : but 
this must be a mistake, because St. Austin informs us, tha^the 
family of Cecrops began about the time that Jacob was born, 
v/hich was about 432 years after the Deluge ; and the same 
father allows the crown to continue in that line but 215 years ; 
by which computation it follows, that about 667 years after the 
Flood, the government was removed out of their family, and 
their monarchy expired. It is impossible that Gadelas should 
be the son of Argos or Cecrops, because Hector Boetius, in his 
History of Scotland, says, that the Gadeliaus were in Egypt 
w]xen Moses was vrorking wonder'^' in that country for the delivery 
of the Israelites ; and the book of the Irish Invasions agrees with 
that computation. 

The Book of Invasions gives jvn account that about this tima 
Gadelas was born ; he was the son of Niul, son of Feniusa 
Farsa^ king of Scythia, son of Baah, son of Magog ; his mother 
was Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh Cingris, king of Egypt. 
Moses began to govern the Israelites in Egypt, about 797 years 
after the Deluge ; and, according to that computation, there 
were about 355 years from the reign of Cecrops till Gadelas was 
born ; so that it was impossible for Gadelas to be a son of 

Other authors are fond of insisting that the Gadelians came 
from Greece into Scythia, and from thence travelled by land into 
Egypt.* These writers are of opinion, that the word Scythia is 
as much as to say Jath Sgeach or Sceachach, which they suppose 
sigiiifies land j but upon comp-iring the word Scythia, in the 
pronunciation, with either of tht^e, especially the last letters of 
it, we shall find there is no manner of analogy in the sound, be- 
tween th, dh, th or ch, and ia, which are the last letters of the 
word Scythia. This mistake arises from a profound ignorance 
of some authors in the Irish language, and the forwardness of 
others to guess and deliver 'their sentiments about what it is 
impossible they should understand. They will have it, that the 
Gadelians must come originally out of Greece, because the so- 
lemnity of the Gadelian triumphs, their sports, tilts and tour- 
naments, and many other of their customs, bear a very near re- 
Bemblance to the practice of the Grecians ; from whence the-^ 


miadvisedly conclude, that the Gadeliaiis were originally natives^ 
cf Greece : but this similitude of manners and customs will be 
soon accounted for, if we consider that the several invaders of 
Ireland, after the Deluge, except Nemedius and the Milesians, 
took Greece- in their way to Ireland, and resided there for somo 
time. Partholanus, we have observed, came out of ]!kJidonia, 
supposed to be Macedonia, in Greece ; the Firbolgs set out 
fVom Thracia, and the Tuatha de Danans from Achaia, neni 
Boeotia, and the city of Thebes ; so that those invaders, who 
either came out of Greece, or travelled through part of it, in their 
way to Ireland, may be supposed to retain some of the manners 
and usages of that country ; and we may presume, the Gadelians, 
when they came to Ireland, learned of the inhabitants they found 
there, some of those customs which the followers of Partholanus, 
or the colony of the Firbolgs, had introduced into the island. 
But to assert positively, that the Gadelians were originally de- 
scended from the Greeks, is what has no foundation in history, 
nor the authority of any faithful writer to support it : it is a 
mere conjecture, built only upon a distant resemblance of certain 
sports and exercises between the Greeks and the Gadelians, which 
we have very easily accounted for. It seems strange that any 
person should attempt to write the history of any nation whose 
language he is unacquainted with, and who can come at no more 
knowledge of antiquity than he receives through the corrupted 
caannel of tradition, or the relation of foreign authors. The 
■Irish tongue is obscure, and difficult to be understood ; and the 
natives of Ireland, who speak it properly enough, can, hardly at 
tain the knowledge of its characters, especially to read and becom 
perfectly acquainted with the ancient records ; which ought to dis- 
courage a foreigner from writing about the origin of the Irish nation^ 
and likewise render a faithful translation of the Irish manuscripts 
the more valuable in the opinion of every one who bears any re- 
gard to the genuine antiquities of the kingdom 


The great Feniusa Farsa, king of the Scythian nation, was a 
prince who appHed himself to the study of letters, and made it 
his business to understand the several languages of the world, 
which began from the general confusion of tongues at the tower 
of Babel. From the time of Adam till the building of that 
tower, there was but one universal language, which the ancient 


chronicles of Ireland call Gartigarran, which signifies the human 
tongue ; hut when Nimrod and his profane confederates at- 
tempted to erect that structure, Providence thought fit to inter- 
pose and put a stop to the undertaking, by perplexing the work- 
men with a diversity of speech, and confounding them with 
strange languages, which effectually hindered their design, and 
prevented the finishing of the building : but the wisdom of God 
thought fit to preserve the genuine and original language, which 
was the Hebrew, in the family of Heber, from whom it was 
called the Hebrew tongue. This good man, being informed of 
the wicked attempts of Nimrod and his accomplices, and that 
they proposed, by erecting a tower, to secure themselves from a 
second deluge, which they apprehended would again overflow 
the world, opposed their design, and refused to assist them in 
raising the structure. He told them it was a vain and auda- 
cious enterprise, carried on in defiance of Heaven, whose decrees 
it was impossible to withstand or disappoint. But this remon- 
fitrance made no impression upon the projectors, who thought to 
raise their tower to a height which the waters could never reach, 
and by that means secure themselves and their families fi'om the 
danger of another flood ; but a confusion of language broke all 
their measures, and the faithful Heber, for his piety, was re- 
warded with a continuance of the original speech in his own fa- 
mily, who preserved it uncorrupt, and in its native purity de- 
livered it to posterity. 

Feniusa Farsa, the Scythian monarch, desirous to attain the 
knowledge of the Hebrew tongue, and to have it taught in th(^ 
public schools which he designed to erect,' resolved to go in per- 
son to Magh Seanair, which was near the place where the He- 
brew was the common language of the inhabitants. After the 
confusion at Babel, it is supposed, there arose seventy-two- dif 
ferent tongues, which this Scythian prince designed '• if possible 
to be master of For this end he dispatched seventy-two per- 
sons of learning, with a number in case of mortality to supply 
their places, to the several parts of the known world ; and com- 
manded them to stay abroad for seven years, that each of them 
might be perfectly acquainted with the language of the country 
where he chanced to reside ; then they were to return to Scy- 
thia, and instruct the youth in the several languages. Upon 
the return of these learned linguists into Scythia, Feniusa Farsa 
began his journey to Magh Seanair, and left the government of 
the kingdom in his absence to Nenuall, his eldest son ; as the 
poet informs us in his poem that begins thus, Canoimh Bunad- 
hus na ngaoidhiol, Szc, 


One was at first the language of mankind, 
^ Till haughty Nimrod, with presumption bliiid, 
Proud Babel built ; then with confusion struck, 
Seventy-two difi'rent tongues the workmen spoke. 
These languages the Scythian monarch strove 
To learn, and in his schools his youth improve. 

it Wcas sixty years from the building of the tower of Babel till 
Feniusa Farsa set out from the north, from his country of Scythia, 
and arrived at Magh Seanair, and there began his schools for the 
universal languages. This computation we receive from chroni- 
cles of great antiquity ; and the poet agrees with it in the fol- 
lowing verses : 

From the confusion at the tower of Babel, 
Till Feniusa Farsa from the north 
Arriv'd, was sixty years. 

This learned prince laid the foundation of an university at 
Magh Seanair, near the city called Athens, whither he invited 
the youth of the adjacent countries to frequent his schools, in 
order to attain the knowledge of the universal languages ; as the 
poet observes in these lines : 

In. Magh Seanair, aftfer the lofty tower 

Of Babel was erected, the first school 

At Athens was erected, where the languages 

Were taught with care, and the industrious youth 


The persons who had the care of these schools, were Feniusa 
Farsa, king of Scythia, Gadel, the son of Eathoir, of the poste- 
rity of Gomer, who was a Grecian ; and Caoh Saion Shreathach, 
who came from Gudea, and was likewise called Gar Mac Neamha; 
as the poet writes in this manner : 

The tutors who presided in the schools, 
Were Gadel, son of Eathoir, and Gar, 
The learned son of Neamha, the Hebrew 
And Fenius, the principal of all. 

Another poet is of the same opinion, which he exnresses thus : 

The learned monarch Feniusa Farsa, 
And Gadel, perfect in the foreign tongues, 
And Caoih, friend to truth, first took the cnarge 
Of teaching youth the languages 


These three eraineut liDgiiists first invented the alphabet, in 
three principal languages, in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, which 
they inscribed upon tables of wood ; as the learned Cionthaola, 
who writ in the time of St. Columbanus, or Colum Cill, justly 
observed. The same author says, that Nion, the son of Pelus, 
the son of Nimrod, was then the sole sovereign and monarch of 
the universe ; %nd remarks farther, that Niul, the second son of 
Feniusa Farsa, was born at Magh Seanair about that time, for 
whose sake Feniusa continued twenty years, as the president of 
the schools he had erected, that he might have his son under 
his immediate care, and make him perfect in the universal lan- 
guages. It was in the forty-second year of the reign of Nion, 
the son of Pelus, (as the Chronicles inform us,) that the king 
of Scythia first began, to build and establish his schools at Magh 
Seanair ; so that we may suppose he continued at Magh 
Seanair ten years after the death of Nion, the son of Pelus ; for 
all the writers agree that he presided, as a tutor over those 
schools, for twenty years. It likewise appears, from the com- 
putation of Bellarmine, in his Chronicle, that the schools at 
Magh Seanair were first begun by Feniusa Farsa, 242 years 
after the Flood. The same author, in his Chronicle, computes, 
that it was in the year of the world 1850, when Nion, the sou 
of Pelus, began his monarchy, and governed the nation of the 
Hebrews, which, acGording to the Hebrew computation allowed 
by Bellarmine, proves that Nion began to reign 200 years after 
the Flood : for from the Creation to the Deluge, by the account 
of Scripture, was 1656 years, to which we are to add forty 
two years of Nion's reign, that were spent before Feniusa Farsa, 
king of Scythia, began his universal schools : so that by this cal- 
culation it appears, that the foundation of the schools was laid 
242 years after the Flood ; and they Were kept open twenty 
years, ten years ir. the reign of Nion, and ten years afterwards. 
When Feniusa Farsa, the Scythian king, had presided twenty 
years over the universal schools he had erected, he returned to 
Scyt-hia, and began to build seminaries of learning in his own 
country ; Gadel, the son of Eathoir, he ordained president, and 
commanded him to digest the Irish language into form and re- 
gulation, and to divide it into five several dialects. The firs ; 
was the Finian dialect, which was spoken by the militia and the 
soldiery of the island ; the second was the poetical, the third 
the historical, the fourth was the dialect of the physicians, the 
fifth was the common idiom, or the vulgar Irish, used in general 
by the people of the country : this dialect received its name 

OF IRiiLAMD. '' 103 

from Gadel, the master of the schools, and was called Gaoidhe- 
alg, that is, Irish, and not from Gadelas, as others imagine. 
This Gadel, the son of Eathoir, was so highly esteemed by Fe 
niusa Farsa, thsit, in respect to him he called the young prince, 
which he had by Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh Cingcris, by the 
name of Gaodhal, or Gadelas, as the learned Ceanfnoelta mentiona 
in his history. 

It is a question among authors, from 'whence the word Gaod 
hal, or Gadelas,- is derived : Bscanus is of opinion, that it comes 
fi'om Gaodin, or Gaothin, which signifies gentle, and by adding 
the syllable all, it sounds Gaodhal, which signifies all gentle. 
Others imagine that it proceeds from the Hebrew word Gadal, 
which signifies great ; because Gadel, the son of Eathcir, (who 
was first called Goadhal, that is Gadel,) was a great proficient in 
learning, and in the universal languages. Our historians inform 
us. that he was called Gaodhal, or Gadel, from the Irish word 
Gaoith dil, which signifies a lover of learning ; for learning in 
English, in the Irish language is Gaoith, and love is the English 
for the word Dil. The Grecian philosophers explain the word 
in the same manner, and by Gaoith dil they mean a lover of 

It is not observed by the Irish chronicles, that Feniusa Farsa 
had any more children than two sons, Nenuall, who was the 
eldest, and Niul, the younger brother ; as the old poet remarks : 

The aged monarch happy in his sons ; 

The learned Niul, born near the tower of Babel, 

And valiant Nenuall, by birth a Scythi:;n. 

When Feniusa Farsa had reigned two and twenty years over 
the Scythian monarchy, and had returned home from Mao-h 
Seanair, he fell sick ; and, when he was near the point of death, 
he demised the kingdom of Scythia to Nenuall, his eldest son, 
and left nothing to Mul, the younger brother, but the advantage 
arising from the public schools he had erected, and the benefit o! 
instructing the youth of the country in the learned languages. 


This young prince had employed himself for some time with 
great applause, in educating the Scythian youth, insomuch, that 
the fame of his learning and accomplishments was carried into 
distant countries, till at length it reached the ears of Pharaoh 
Cingcris, king of Egypt. This monarch was so charmed v/ith 


the report that he had lieard, that he immec'iiately dispatched 
messengers into Scythia, to invite Niul into Egypt, to instrnct 
the youth of that country ; as the poet mentions in these lines : 

Th' Eg>'ptian monarch heard of Niul's fame, 
From cUstant Scythia, and admir'd his learning. 

Niul accepted of the invitation, and when he had been in Egypt 
a small time, the king, delighted with his learning and the mo- 
desty of his behaviour, bestowed upon him his daughter Scota, 
a princess of great beauty, and gave him the lands of Capacirunt, 
that lie upon the coasts of the Red Sea. This is universally al- 
lowed by our chronicles, and observed by the poet Giolla Caom- 
han, in his poem, which begins thus, Gaodhal glas odtaid Gaoid- 

The Scythian soon complied with the request, 
But, vfhen he came, soft love his heart possess'd, 
And, for reward, he was with charming Scota bless'd. 

After his marriage with the princess, he erected schools and 
seminaries of learning in Capacirunt, and taught the sciences and 
the universal languages to the youth of Egypt. At this time 
his wife Scota was delivered of a son, who, by the command of 
Niul, was called Gaodhal, that is Gadelas. 

It may seem strange perhaps, that Niul, (who was the fifth 
descendant from Japhet,) should be contemporary with Moses, 
especially considering that it was the space of 997 years from the 
Deluge, till Moses took upon him the command of the Israelites. 
This difficulty will be answered, if we observe, that it was not 
impossible for Niul to live some hundred years ; for in those ages 
of the world, the lives of mankind were very long, as may be 
proved by the testimony of Scripture. Heber, the son of Saile, 
the fourth descendant from Shem, lived 464 years, and Shem 
himself lived 500 years after his son Arphaxed was born. This 
account we find in the eleventJi chapter of the book of Genesis ; 
so that we are not so nauch to admire that Niul should live from 
the forty-second year of the reign of Nion, the eon of Pelus, to 
the time that Moses came into Egypt ; and the wonder abates still, 
if we may give credit to Marianus Scotus, who says, that it was 
331 years after the Flood, when the confusion of languages hap- 
pened at the tower of Babel ; and we have the evidence of the 
most authentic records, to prove that Niu] was born a considerable 
time after that confusion ; so that the age of this prince is not 
at all incredible, nor is the testimony of the Scottish author iu- 
validj who places Niul as contemporary with Moses. 

OP lUELA^'D. 105 

During the time that Niul resided at Capacirunt, near the 
Red Sea^ with his wife Scota, and Gadelas his son, the childrei? 
of Israel, under the conduct of Moses and Aaron, attempted to 
free themselves from the slavery of Egypt, and encamped near 
Capacirunt. JSTiul, somewhat surprised at the number of those 
itinerants, who had fixed themselves in his neighbourhood, went 
himself in person, to make discoveries, and to know their business, 
and to what nation they belonged. When he came to the out- 
side of the camp, he met Aaron, of whom he inquired the rea- 
son of their encampment, and the country they were of. Aaron 
very courteously gave him satisfaction, and beginning the history 
of the Hebrew nation, related the adventures of that people ; 
he informed him of the bondage they had endured, for many 
years, under the taskmasters of the Egyptian king ; and how 
the God they worshipped had worked wonders and miracles for 
their deliverance, and had punished, with the most dreadful 
judgments, the cruelty of that barbarous prince. Niul, affected 
with this relation, immediately offered his friendship and service 
to Aaron, and asked whether he had sufficient provision for so 
numerous a people ; and, if they were in any distress, he promised 
to furnish him with corn, and all other necessaries which hia 
country produced. This generous act could not but be well re- 
ceived by Aaron, who returned him thanks for his civility, and 
took his leave. When he returned to the camp, he gave an ac- 
count to Moses of the adventure he had met with, and the kind 
offers that were made him by a neighbouring prince. Niul like- 
wise, when he came home, related the history of the Israelite!} 
to some of the principal of his people, and repeated the conver- 
sation he had with one of their commanders. 

It happened, that upon the same night, the young prince Ga- 
delas, the son of Niul, had the misfortune to be bit in the neck 
by a serpent ; some say as he was swimming in a river, though 
others assert that the serpent came out of the adjacent wilderness, 
and bit him in his bed. The venom instantly spread itself through 
his veins, and poisoned the whole mass of blood, so that the 
prince languished, and was reduced to the very brink of death. 
This dreadful accident alarmed Niul and his people, who, upon 
consultation, resolved to carry the expiring prince to the camp 
of the Hebrews, and entreat the humanity of Moses, that he 
would pray for his recovery to that Almighty God, who had 
displayed his power, in so wonderful a manner, among the Egyp- 
tians. Moses complied with their request, and addressed him- 
Belf fervently to God, for the safety of the young prince : and 

10b THE G ;,'5^;ral H!f:;T!a:Y 

laying his rod, that i^as in his hand, upon the n'ound, the youth 
immediately recovered, and was perfectly healed, but there re- 
mained a green spot upon the place where the bite was. From 
this green spot the prince was afterwards called Gaodhal glas, 
but by modern authors Gadelas ; Glas signifies green, and Gao- 
dhal (as the moderns corruptly pronounce it, though Gadel 
was the proper name) being joined with it, is the reason that 
he is generally called Gadelas ; and from this Gaodhal, or Ga- 
delas, the Irish are called Clana Gaodhal, which is as much as to 
say, the posterity of Gaodhal, or Gadelas. 

When Moses had so miraculously cured this bite of the ser- 
pent, he prophesied, that wherever that young prince or his 
posterity should inhabit, the country should never be infested 
with any venomous creature. This prediction is fulfilled in the 
island of Crete, now called Candia, where some of the descen- 
dants of this prince remain to this day : and it is well known 
that no poisonous creature will live in that island, but die imme- 
diately upon their arrival there, as they do in Ireland. Some, I 
confess, are of opinion, that there were serpents in Ireland, till St. 
Patrick- arrived to propagate Christianity in that country ; but 
this assertion depends upon the figurative manner of expression, 
which is to be understood of devils or infernal spirits, that 
may properly be called serpents, and were expelled the island 
by the piety and preaching of this saint. But we have no ac- 
count in our ancient annals of any serpents in Ireland since the 
invasion of the country by the Gadelians ; and, by the universal 
silence of our historians, we may with great reason collect, that 
there were do such creatures ; and, as a farther testimony, we are 
to observe, that the infernal fiends, or the devils, are generally 
called serpents, in the life of St. Patrick. 

We have an account, from some antiquaries, that Moses locked 
a chain he had in his hand about the neck of Gaodhal, or Gade- 
las ; and from thence he was called Gaodhal glas, that is Gade- 
las ; for the word Glas, by another termination, in the Irish 
language, signifies in the English, a lock, and by joining together 
the words Gaodhal Glas, we come at the name Gaodhalglas 
or Gadelas. In those times every principal and chief com- 
mander wore a rich chain about his arm, as a badge of his ofiice^ 
and a distinction of his authority. But as an evidence that this 
young prince had the syllable Glas added to his name, from jthe 
impression of the serpent's teeth, (which occasioned a gvecn 
spot ui^on the wound, in Irish cf^Ued Glas,") and not from a cham 


locked about his neck, I heave inserted the following verses, ex- 
tracted from the Eoyal Records of Tara. 

The hissing serpent, eager of his prey, 

Ascends the couch where sleeping Gadel lay ; 

In winding mazes then himself he roll'd, 

And leap'd upon him in a dreadful fc.^ld. 

And shook his foriced tongue, and then around 

His neck he twists, ai:d gives a deadly wound ; 

From his black gums he press'd the killing foam, 

And from his mouth the blasting vapours come. 

The subtle poison spreads through every vein, 

No art, no juice of herbs, can ease the pain, 

Till Moses, with his never-faihng wand. 

Touched the raw wound which heal'd at his command, 

But a green spot the tender skin distain'd. 

From henco the princely youth receiv'd his name, 

And was called Gaodliai glas. 

Other antiquaries are of opinion, that he was called Gaodhal 
glas, or Gadelas, from the brightness of his armour, and the 
shining of the weapons he used in the wars j as the poet observes 
in this manner, 

This prince, the virtuous Scota bore, 

From the bright lustre of the arms he wore, 
Called Gaodhal glas. 

From this. Gaodhal glas, or Gadelas, the Gadelians derive 
their name; and the Irish, from him, are called Clana Gaodhal 
Upon this account an ancient poet has these lines : 

From Gadelas the Irish had their name, 
The Scots from Scota, Feine from Fenius. 

Some of the Irish chronicles assert, that the reason why Scota, 
the mother of Gadelas, was so called, was, because the father of 
Gadelas was descended from the Scythian race, among whom it 
was a custom to call the women after their husband's names. 

It is to be observed, that this princess was a different person 
from that Scota, who was the wife of Golamh, afterwards called 
Milesius, king of Spain, by whom he had six sons j for the 
father of Scota, the mother of Gadelas, was Pharaoh Cingcri^ 
king of Egypt, who pursued the children of Israel, as they fled 
from slavery, and perished in the Red Sea with all his army j 
out the father of that Scota, who was the wife of Milesius, king 
of Spain, was the fifteenth king oi Egypt in succession from the 
Pharaoh above-mentioned, and distir.guished by the name of 
Piuiraoh Noctoucbus. 


When Niul had received the prince, his son, in perfect healthy 
by the prayers of Moses, and in return had supplied the Israel- 
ites with provisions, and what was necessary for their journey, 
he began to be apprehensive that his father-in-law would be ditj- 
pleased at the civility he showed a people, whom he esteemed 
as a company of slaves, in a state of rebellion against his autho- 
rity. He communicated his fears to Moses, who persuaded him 
to remove himself and his people, and accompany him into the 
promised land, where he should have a part of the country assigned 
him for his own support, and the maintenance of his followers ; 
or if he refused this proposal, he would deliver up the shipping 
which belonged to the crown of Egypt, into his hands, where he 
might dispose of himself and his subjects with safety, till he 
found how the great God would deal with Pharaoh, who re- 
solved to pursue the Hebrews, and force them back to slavery. 
This motion Niul complied with, and accordingly Moses dis- 
patched 1000 men, well armed, who made themselves masters 
of the ships, and delivered them into the possession of Niul, who, 
with all possible speed, went on board with all his people, and 
stood out to sea, in expectation of the event. Upon the next 
day the waters of the Red Sea were divided, and a wonderful 
passage made for the Israelites to go through ; and Pharaoh, 
with the choicest forces of his kingdom, attempting to follow 
them, were all drowned. Upon this memorable transaction, an 
old poet has these lines : 

The haughty monarch, Avith a heart elate, 
Eesolv'd to follow, and to tempt his fate. 
He rush'd into the deep, the waters close, 
And with impetuous rage his pride oppose : 
They cover all his host, and, in their course, 
Sweep away 60,000 foot, and 50,000 horse. 

This overthrow of the Egyptians was brought to pass about 79/ 
years after the Deluge. 

Niul, observing from his ships that Pharaoh and the Egyptian 
army were destroyed, resolved to return, and fix himself and his 
people in their former settlement : he brought his ships to land, 
and went on shore with all his followers. After this enterprise 
he had many children, and lived till his sons were able to bccar 
arms, and then died, leaving behind him the character of one of 
the most learned and valiant princes of his age. Gadelas, after 
the decease of his father, took upon him the command, and ad- 
mitted his mother Scota into a share of the government, and 
they reigned together with great wisdom and unanimity. 


It was observed before that Moses had prophesied, that the 
countries wherever Gadelas or any of his posterity should in- 
habit should not be infested with any poisonous creature ; and 
he likewise added this prediction, that the posterity of this prince 
should encourage the sciences, and be the constant patrons of 
poets, philosophers, historians, and men of learning in all pro- 
fessions. This account we receive from an ancient poet, in the 
following verses, to be found in the Psalter na rann : 

The holy prophet was mspir'd to see 
Into events of dark futurity ; 

And said, for thee, young prince, has heav'a in store 
Blessings that mortals scarce enjoy'd before ; 
- For Avheresoe'er thy royal line shall come. 

Fruitful shall be their land, and safe their home ; - 

No poisonous snake or serpent shall deface 

The beauty of the field, or taint the grass ; 

No noisome reptile Avith envenom'd teeth, 

Nor deadly insect with infectious breath, 

Shall ever bloat that land, or be the cause of death. 

But innocence and arts shall flourish there, 

And learning in its lovely shapes appear. 

The poets there shall in#their songs proclaim 

Thy glorious acts and never-dying name. 

Gadelas had a son born him in Egypt, whom he named Eas- 
ru ; he was the father of Sru, who possessed and ruled over the 
territory of his ancestors. The successor of Pharaoh Cingcris, 
who perished in the Red Sea with his whole army, was Pharaoh 
an Tuir; he was a prince of a military disposition, and recruited 
the forces of his kingdom after that wonderful overthrow in his 
predecessor's reign. The kings of Egypt were successively called 
Pharaohs, till the time of Pharaoh JSTectonebus, who was the 
fifteenth in succession from Pharaoh Cingcris, that possessed 
the throne of the Egyptian monarchy. 


Pharaoh an Tuir, upon his succession to the crown of Egypt, 
immediately set himself to repair the loss sustained in the last 
reign; and raised a numerous army, with a design of revenge 
upon the posterity of Niul and the Gadelians, for seizing the 
shipping, and assisting the Israelites with provisions when they 
encamped upon the borders of the Pted Sea : and when he had 
completed his forces, he marched towards the country of Capa- 
Ciruutj. and entered it with fire and sword. AVp iciingham, in his 



book called Hypodigma, gives the same account, where he says :* 
" The Egyptians being overwhelmed by the Red Sea, those that 
remained drove oiit a Scythian prince, who resided among them, 
lest he should take advantage of the weakness of the govern- 
ment, and make an attempt upon the crown. When he was 
expelled the country, with all his followers, he came to Spain, 
where he and his people lived many years, and became nume- 
rous, and from thence they came into Ireland." 

We are to observe, that this Scythian prince was Sru, the son 
of Easru, son of Gadelas, arnd not Gadelas himself, as Hectoi 
Boetius, and some ignorant English writers that followed him take 
the freedom to assert. But such pretenders to history will be of no 
authority, when compart with the testimony of the Irish chro- 
nicles, which affirm positively, that Gadelas was the son of Scota, 
the daughter of Pharaoh Gingcris, king of Egypt ; that he re- 
mained there his life-time, and there died. We are informed by 
the same records, that this prince never came out of Greece, as 
others imagine ; but his father, who was Niul, the son of Feniusa 
Farsa, came directly from Scythia. Nor is the account of Wal- 
singham to be wholly credited ;^or this Sru, upon his expulsion 
from Egypt, did not direct his course towards Spain, but arrived 
in Scythia, and it was Pagha, the son of Bratha, the fifteenth 
descendant from Sru, that came first into Spain, as the anti- 
quities of Ireland inform us. However,- it is certain, that Sru 
was the commander and prince of the Gadelians, in their voyage 
from Egypt, when they were driven out by Pharaoh an Tuir. 
This is confirmed by the authority of GioUa Caomhan, a cele- 
brated poet, who wrote a poem upon the subject while he wa& at 
sea, and has these verses : 

Sru, son of Easru, son of Gadelas, 

The founder of the great Gadelian race, 

Left the Egyptian shore, expell'd by force, 

And sail'd with four ships. He had in every transport 

Twenty-five nobles of the chiefest rank, 

Attended by their virtuous ladies. 

The Irish records of the best authority agree, that Gadelas, 
and his son Easru, lived and died in Egypt, and that Sru, tlie 
son of Easru, son of Gadelas, was the commander of the Gade- 

* Egyptiis in mari Rubro submersis, illi qui superfuerunt expulerunt a se 
quendam nobilem Scythicum qui degebat apud eos, ne dominium super eos in- 
vaderet. Expulsus ille cum familia, pervenit ad Hispaniam, ubi et habita^it 
'•Wilis multis et progenies ipsius, familife multse multipHcata est nimis, et inde 
venerunt in I-Iiberui<un. 



lians in this expedition. He landed with his followers in the 
uiand of Crete, where he died ; and was succeeded in the govern- 
ment by Eibher, or Heber Scot, his son, who was the head of that 
people, and sailed with them from Crete, and brought them to 

There is an author of some note, who is of opinion, that tho 
Irish and Scots, were generally called Scots from this Hebei 
Scot, who sailed with the Gadelians from Crete to Scythia, be- 
cause the word Scot signifies a soldier, or a man of valour ; and 
it is certain, that this prince was a person of great bravery, and 
an expert bowman, from whom, this writer supposes, that his 
posterity were called Scots, and made use of bows and arrows 
in their wars and huntings, after the example of their ancestors, 
till late years, when they thought proper to use other weapons. 
But I am not to believe this author, when he contradicts the 
evidence of the most ancient of the Irish chronicles, which assert, 
that he Gadelians in general were called Scots, because they 
origiually came out of Scythia. 

Gadelas, we are to observe, was contemporary with Moses, and 
was eighty years old when Pharaoh and his army were destroyed 
iii the Red Sea. The fourth descendant from him, in a direct 
line, was this Heber Scot, son of Sru, son of Easru, son of Gade- 
las who was born in Egypt before the Gadelians were expelled 
thence. Some antiquaries imagine, that it was 440 years from 
the destruction of Pharaoh till the sous of king Milesius arrived 
in Ireland ; and this account is confirmed by an old poet, in these 
lines : 

From the destruction of Pharaoh Cmgcris, 

Till the descendants of Milesius sailed 

From Spain, and landed on the Irish shore, 

Was forty and four hundred years. 

The Book of Conquests, or Invasions, computes but 283 years 
from the time that Moses governed the Israelites in Egypt till 
the sons of Milesius arrived in Ireland ; and the Irish chronicles 
agree, that the posterity of Milesius first invaded the country 
1080 years after the Flood. The book above -mentioned reckons, 
that it was 300 years after the Deluge when Partholanus came 
into Ireland ; that his posterity continued there 300 years, and 
that the country was uninhabited and waste 30 years after the ex- 
tinction of the Partholanians, till the Clana Neimhidh, or the 
posterity of Nemedius landed upon the coast. The Nemedians 
governed the island 217 years ; the Firbolgs succeeded them, and 
reigned 3G years ; they were subdued by the Tuathade Danaus, 

112 thl general history 

V'ho were governors of the coimtrv^ 197 years ; ami by adding 
tJQP whole numbei-s together, they amount to 1080 years, which 
IS ^ne distance of time agreed to be from the Deluge "till the pos- 
terity of Milesius first came into Ireland. If this computation 
be compared with the 797 years that were between the Flood and 
the government of Moses over the Israelites, it will appear evi- 
aently, that, from t.hat time till the arrival of the Milesians in 
Ireland, there parsed no more than 283 years ; so that the above 
Hupposition is false, and without authority, which asserts, fhat 
the posterity of Milesius landed in Ireland 440 years after the 
passage of the Israelites through the Eed sea. 

Somo antiquaries are of opinion, that when -Sru and his 
fjllo^ers set sail from Egypt, he steered west and by north into 
the ^gean sea, and left Trepofane, by some called Tarobain, and 
Asia Minor upon his right. h&Dd, ani so he riailed round the 
coast of Asia. noithT--ards urion irx'T. left, and from thence west- 
wards to mount Riffe, on the west and by north side of Asia ; 
he Bteered then into the narrow sea that divides Europe from 
Asia, and fr'cm thence into Scythia. But it is certain, that this 
was not the course by which Sru attempted to steer fr'om Egypt 
into Scythia ; for he began his voyage from the mouth of the 
river jSile, and so sailed to the*island of Crete, now called Can- 
dia, where he continued till he died ; and as an evidence that 
yome of this posterity remain there to this day, no serpent or 
venomous creature will live in the place, which is as free from 
those creatures as the country of Ireland. From Crete the 
Gadelians sailed through the ^gean sea into Pontus Euxinus, 
and up the river Tanais as far as navigable, and then marched his 
men under the conduct of Heber Scot before mentioned, who was 
their commander in all their voyages and adventures. If it should 
be thought impossible to come by sea from Egypt into Scythia, 
which was a kingdom of great extent in those times, it is to be 
observed, that the historians in their accounts of Scythia agree, 
that the river Tanais runs into Pontus Euxinus, which hath 
communication with the ^gean, and the ^gean with the Medi- 
terranean, which sea extends to the coasts of Egypt; and to the 
mouth of the Nile, and Tanais was always accounted to be a 
river of Scythia, Herodotus, in his fourth book, gives this de 
scription of the river Tanais :* " The river Tanais, which divides 
Asia fr'om Eui'ope, is reckoned to be one of the rivers of Scy- 

* Tarais fluviiis, dividens Asiam ab Europa, enurnerature inttr flumma qwE 
E4>UQ Scythas sunt. 

OF 1KELA.ND. 113 

When the Gadelians arrived in Scythia, from whence they 
ariginally descended, they were harassed with continual wars by 
their kindred, the posterity of Nenuall, the son of Feniusa 
Farsa, king of Scythia, who were afraid they would put in some 
claim to the government of the country ; and in one of the en- 
gagements between them, Agnon, the son of Tait, the son of 
Heber Scot, fought hand to hand with his own cousin Reffleior, 
the son of Rif51, the son of Nenuall, and king of Scythia, and 
sle^ him. Their dissensions continued seven years ; as the old 
poet, GioUa Caomhan, observes in the verses following, extracted 
from the poem which begins thus : Gaodhal' glas otaid Gaoid- 

For seven long yenrs the Scythian wars continued, 
Till Reffleior; (engaged with the vaUant Agnon) 
Was slain. 


When Refileior, king of Scythia, was slain, he had two sons, 
Nenual and Riffil, who resolved to revenge their father's death, 
and, with a great army they had raised, to drive the Gadeliana 
out of the country. The Gadelians, unable to engage with the 
Scythian forces, consulted together, and came to a resolution to 
ieave the country before they were pressed to a battle ; and ac- 
cordingly they retired with all possible speed into the territo- 
ries of the Amazons, where they contmued tor tJie space or a 
year, under the conduct of Adnoin and Heber, the two sons of 
Tuit, son of Agnamou, son of Beogamon, son of Heber Scot, son 
of Sru, son of Easru, son of Gadelas. 

Adnoin had three sons, whose names were Ealloid. Lamhfionn 
and Lamfhglas : Heber had two sons, Caicer apd Cing; Adnoin 
died. After they had continued for the space of a year in that 
country, the Gadelians set to sea in three ships, threescore per- 
sons in each ship, and every third person had a wife. In this 
voyage they had six commanders ; and they sailed westwards 
till they came into the narrow sea that flows from the Northern 
oc3an, where they were surprised .with' a violent storm, that 
drove them upon an Island called Caronia, in the Pontic sea. 
In this island they staid a year and a quarter ; and here Heber, 
the son of Tait, and Lamfhglas, one of the sons of Adnoin, died, 
and were interred with great pomp and solemnity, if we consi- 
der the rudeness and simplicity of those times. The principal 
commanders in this voyage were Ealloid, Lamhfionn, Cing and 
Oiicor. They were persons tolerably experienced in adventures, 


and directed their voyage with great skill ; but they encoun- 
tered great difficulties, partly owing to the inclemeucy of the 
w^eather, and in some measure to the rocks that lay concealed 
under water, and made sailing extremely dangerous. Uncertain 
which way to steer their course, they applied themselves to 
Caicer for advice. This person was a principal druid among 
them, and by his prophetic knowledge informed them, that there 
was no country ordained for them to inhabit till they arrived 
upon the coast of a certain western isle, which was Ireland ; put 
that it was decreed the)'- should never set foot in that country, 
yet it should be enjoyed by their posterity. It must be under- 
stood, that a druid signifies a priest, and a person of singular 
learning and wisdom ', and the Gadelians were always happy in 
the attendance of some of these extraordinary sages, in all their 
travels and adventures, till they came to Ireland, and afterwards 
to the birth of Christ, which put an end to their idolatry and 
pagan priesthood. 

The Gadelians, overawed by this prediction, proceeded in their 
voyage, and landed in Gothland, where Lamhfionn had a son of 
uncommon wisdom and courage, who was called Heber Glunfionn. 
In this country these people continued thirty years, and some of 
their posterity are inhabitants there to this day ; as the learned 
Giolla Caomhan relates in a poem of his in this manner : 

The ivarlike sons of the Gadelian race 
liemain'd among the Goths for thirry years. 
And there shall some of their posterity 
Eemain till the world's end. 

But we have Irish records of great authority which contra- 
dict this account, .and assert that the Gadelians continued in 
Gothland an hundred and fifty years, and this appears to be the 
truest computation ; for it is certain that eight generations of 
that people died in that country. The eight successive descen- 
dants from Heber Glunfionn to Bratha are these : Bratha, the 
son of Deaghatha, son of Earchada, son of Alloid, son of 
JSTuagatt, son of Nenuaill, son of Eibric, son of Heber Glun- 
fionn, who was born iri Gothland, the son of Lamhfionn, the 
principal commander that conducted the Gadelians into that 
country ; and since it is impossible to think that the space of 
thirty years could consume eight generations, the last computa- 
tion we must depend upon as the best authority. 

Other chronicles assort that the Gadelians continued in Goth- 
Uviid three hundred years ; yet this account is far from being 


true, because the histories of the several invasions of the island 
agree that there were not complete three hundred years, from 
the destruction of Pharaoh and his army in the Red sea, till 
the son of king Milesius landed upon the Irish coast. This 
computation therefore must be false, because within that space 
of time it was that the Gadelians finished all their voyages and 
travels, from. Egypt to Crete, from Crete to Scythia, from 
Scythia to Gothland, from Gothland to Spain, from Spain back 
to Scythia, from Scythia to Egypt, from Egypt to Thrace, from 
Thrace to Gothland, from Gothland to Spain, and from thence 
to Ireland. 


Bratha, the son of Deaghatha, the eighth descendant frorr 
Heber Glunfionn, was the principal commander in the voyage, 
and conducted the Gadelians from Gothland into Spain. He 
had but four transports, and disposed twenty-four men, and as 
many women, and four mariners, in every ship. The offioers 
who commanded under Bratha in his expedition, were Oige, 
Vige, (the two sons of Ealloid., the son of Nianuall,) Mantan, 
and Caicer. He sailed from Gothland, with Crete upon his left 
hand, and steered south-west of Europe, and so landed in Spain. 
The posterity of Tubal, the son of Japhet, were the inhabitants 
of tlie country at that time ; and with 'them the Gadelians, 
upon their arrival, fought many desperate engagements, and 
came off victorious over the natives in many battles. About 
that time the family of Ealloid were all swept away by a dread- 
ful pestilence, except ten persons, who increased and multiplied, 
and in a few years m great measure supplied the loss. 

Bratha had a son born to him in Spain, whom he called 
Breogan, who proved to be a prince of great bravery and mili- 
tary conduct, and with his bold Gadelians, engaged the Spaniards 
in many bloody battles, and always fought with success. It was 
he that built Brigantia, near Cruine ; and from him the city 
had the name of Bragansa, as the learned Giolla Caomhan ohr 
serves in these lines : 

The brave Breogan chasM the Spanish troop , 
FoEow'd by victory vhere'er he fought, 
And rais'd the city of Brigantia. 

This warlike prince had ten sons : their names were Cuailgne, 
Cuala, Blath, Aibhle, Nar, Breagha, Fuad, Muirtheimhne, 1th, 
and Bille. as the same author mentions in this manner* 


Ten u-ere the sons of Breogan, their names 
Breagha, Fuad, Miurtheimhne, Sula, 
Cuailgne, Blath, Aibhle, Nar, Ith, and Bille. 

The famous Gallamh, who was called Milesius of Spaiu, was 
the son of Bille, son of Breoghan, who, though he be the last 
named of all the brothers, yet the most authentic records of the 
kingdom allow him to be the eldest son. The family of Breogan 
obtained such a character among the Spaniards, that, by the 
assistance of their hardy Gadelians, they almost made a conquest 
of the whole country, and obtained some of the principal offices 
in the government. The young prince Gallamh was the son of 
Bille, and after he had fought with great bravery in many en- 
gagements against the natives, he resolved to undertake a voyage 
to Scythia, to visit his royal relations in that country. Accor- 
dingly he fitted out thirty ships, and when he had furnished his 
fleet with sufficient necessaries and provisions, he manndd it with 
the stoutest of the Gadelian troops, and weighed anchor. He 
steered his course through the western sea till he came into the 
Mediterranean, and passing by Scythia and Crete he sailed north- 
wards, through the ^Egean into the Euxine sea, and so entering 
the river Tanais he landed in Scythia. He immediately de- 
spatched a courier to the Scythian court, to give notice to 
Keffleior, the king, of his arrival. This prince was related to 
Reffleior, the son of Riffil above mentioned. The king of 
Scythia received this visit with great civility, and by his mes- 
sengers invited him and his retinue to court, where the Spaniard 
behaved himself with so much gallantry, that he soon found a 
way into the affections of the kiDg, who made him his prime 
minister, and generalissimo of all his forces, and bestowed his 
daughter upon him, whose name was Seang, by whom he had 
two sons, Donn and Aireach Feabhruadh. Milesius, having the 
Bole command of the army, suppressed the growing power of the 
neighbouring princes, enlarged the bounds of that monarchy, 
and in many battles subdued all the enemies of the Scythian 
nation. By the continued course of his victories, he became 
the darling of the populace, which raised a jealousy in the king, 
who resolved to crush and put an end to his greatness, lest his 
ambition, supported by the love of the people, should animate 
him to make attempts upon the government, and to fix himself 
on the throne ; and therefore he determined, when a proper 
opportunity offered, to dispatch him. Milesius, informed of his 
bad design, assembled the principal officers of his Gadelians, and 
they came to a resolution of forcing their way into the palace, 

OF mELA"NT). 117 

and killing the king, which they immediately put in execution : 
then they retired to their shipping, and left Scythia. They wont 
on board in the river' Tanais, and sailed through the Euxina 
and the yEgean seas, till they came to the Mediterranean ; and 
so they steered towards the river Nile, and landed on the coast 
f)f Egypt. When Milesius and his attendants came on shore, 
he sent messengers to Pharaoh Ncctonebus, the Egyptian king, 
to notify his arrival, who returned him his compliments, and 
invited him with great civility to the Egyptian court. He as- 
signed a tract of land for the support of the Gadelian forces, 
and entertained Milesius as became the dignity of his character. 
This transaction is confirmed by the testimony of the learned 
Giolla Caomhan, in this manner : 

Milesius slew the monarch in his palace, 
Assisted by his brave Gadeliau troops. 
Then saild away, and left th' ungrateful shore, 
And landed on the Egj^ptian coast. 

In this voyage Milesius was followed by his two sons, Donn 
and Aireach Feabhruadh, whom he had by the princess Seang, 
the daughter of Reffleoir, but she died before ho left Scythia. 
The Gadelians, when they arrived in Egypt, found that countiy 
engaged in a desperate war with the Ethiopians. Pharaoh Nec- 
tonebus, observing the valour of Milesius, and finding him to 
be an expert soldier, made him the general of the Egyptian 
forces, and depended upon his conduct in the whole manage- 
ment of the war. He first reduced his troops to a strict mili- 
tary discipline, and niarched his army against the Ethiopians, 
and engaging in many bloody encounters, victory was always 
on his side ; and he made that use of success, that at last he 
quite broke the spirits of his enemy's soldiery, and made them 
tributaries to the crown of Egypt. The war being thus for- 
tunately ended by the bravery and conduct of Milesius, his 
fame spread into all the adjacent countries, and he was so well 
esteemed in the Egyptian court, that Pharaoh Nectonebus gave 
him in marriage the princess Scota, his daughter, a lady oi 
great virtue, and of excellent beauty. This princess was called 
Scota, for the same reason that Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh 
Cingcris, who perished in the Red Sea in pursuit of the Israel- 
ites, obtained that name, who w^as the wife of the famous Niul, 
the great ancestor of the Gadelians. Milesius, by this princess, 
in Egypt, had two sons, Heberus Fionn and Aimhergin. Upon 
iiis arrival in that country he appointed twelve of the most 


ingenious youths that camo over with him, to be instructed in 
the curious arts and sciences of Egypt, with a design, when they 
were perfect masters in their several professions, to teach his 
own countrymen the trades and mysteries of the Egyptians. 

When he had continued seven years in Egypt he remembered 
the remarkable prediction of Caicer, the principal druid, who 
foretold that the posterity of Gadelas should obtain the possessioQ 
of a western island, which was Ireland, and there inhabit. Con- 
fiding in the truth of this prophecy, he fitted out sixty ships, 
and furnished them with provisions necessary for a voyage, then 
taking leave of the Egyptian court, he went on board with his 
followers, and sailed from the mouth of the river Nile into the 
Mediterranean till he came near Thrace, where he landed : in 
this place the princess Scota was delivered of a son, whom he 
named Ir. Soon after Milesius and his people left Thrace, and 
crossed many countries till he came to another island called 
Gothiana, which lies in the narrow sea (now called the British 
sea) that divides the Baltic from the ocean noAhwards. Here 
he continued for some time, and in this isle his wifb Scota was 
delivered of another son, whom he named Solpa : he was the 
lixth son of Milesius, and was afterwards called the Swordsman. 
^rorh hence he sailed with his Gadelians till be arrived at the 
kingdom of the Picts, formerly called Albania, now Scotland. 
Here he landed, and plundered all the country that lay upon the 
coasts, and conveying his booty on shipboard, he sailed' away, 
leaving Britain on his right hand, and having France west by 
south upon the left, he arrived upon the coast of Biscay, or 
Biscany, in Spain, where he unladed his ships, and set all his 
people on shore. 

The certainty of his arrival was soon spread over all Biscany, 
and was carried with all possible speed over the whole kingdom. 
He found the Spaniards in the most deplorable circumstances, 
overrun by the Goths and other plundering foreigners, who 
took the opportunity of his absence and ransacked the whole 
country. Milesius, resolving to prevent the farther incursions 
of these barbarians, and deliver his subjects from the tyranny of 
these invaders, summoned the whole force of the Gad-elians that 
continued in Spain, and forming them into regular troops, he 
joined them with those that followed him in his voyages, and 
offered battle to the Goths and their auxiliary foreigners, and put 
them to a general rout. He pursued his blow, and with the same' 
good fortune defeated them in fifty-four several battles, and quite 
drove them out of the kingdom. By this means Milesiiis and 

OP In FT. A NO, 


his felatioiM who were the family of Breogan, the son of Bra 
became masters of almost the whole kingdom of Spain. 

The sons of Milesius were, in the whole, thirty -two, and twenty- 
four of them were illegitimate : he had eight sons by his two 
wives, Seang, a daughter of the king of Scythia, and the princess 
Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh Nectonebus, king of Egypt ; buf 
no more than eight, which he had by his wives, arrived in Irelani) 
as the poet testifies in this manner, 

Milesins, the -warlike Spanish king. 
Had two-and-thh'ty sons, and heroes all. 
But only eight born from the marriage bed, 
Arrived in Ireland. 

Twenty-four of the sons of Milesius, we observed, were born 
to him by his concubines, before he began his voyage from Spain 
to Scythia; the other eight legitimate princes he had by his two 
Avives ; Seang, the daughter of Reffleoir, king of Scythia, bore 
him two sons in that' country, Donn and Aireach Feabhruadh ; 
and Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh Nectonebus, king of Egypt, 
was the mother of the remaining six ; their names were Heber 
Fionn and Aimhergin, who were born in Egypt ; Ir, born in tho 
island Irene, situated in the Thracian sea; Golpa, called the 
swordsman, born in Gothiana ; and Aranann and Heremon, born 
in Galicia. This is observed by a poet of great antiquity, in the 
following lines : 


The valiant Gallamh, who was called Milesius, 
And fought a thousand battles with success, 
Had eight young princes of his royal blood ; 
Aireach Feabhruadh, and the noble Donn, 
Both born in Scythia ; near the river Nile, 
In EgjT^t, Heber Fionn and Aimhergin 
Drew their first breath ; the most com-ageous Ir, 
A hero, who in fight surpass'd them all. 
Bom in Irene, near the Thracian shore ; 
Culpa, a prince that well could wield a sword, 
The princes Arannan and Heremon, 
Bom in the tower of Brigantia. 

The children of Breogan, the son of Bratha, increased in Spain 
to be a numerous progeny, and had that confidence in the cou- 
rage of their soldiers, that they resolved to attempt a conquest 
of some other country, and make it a place for their abode. They 
came into this design, because there had been a great scarcity cf 
corn and other provisions in Spain, occasioned by the burning 
heats and dryness of the seasons j and they wore so continually 

120 , TMK ^NliRAL HTSTOra'' 

alarrr.ecl with the inroads of the Goths and other foreiguors, tkat 
they were obliged to be perpetually in the Held in arms, for fear 
of being surprised. The principal persons of that family met in 
council, to debate upon this important subject^ to come to a re- 
solution which way they should steer their coarse, and who waa 
the most proper to employ in the discovery of a country that 
was capable of supporting themselves and their people. Aft-nr 
frequent consultations upon this affair, they agreed unanimously 
to dispatch Ith, the son of Breogan, a prince of great valour and 
penetration, and possessed of many other excellent qualities, to 
make a discovery of the western island, which by an old predic- 
tion was foretold should be iiihabitated by that family. When 
this prophecy of the learned druid Caicer was mentioned in the 
council, the Gadelians were transported with joy, and depended 
upon success in the undertaking; and Ith with great satisfaction 
accepted of the chief command in that intended expedition. The 
place where this assembly met to consult was Bragansa or Brig- 
antia, in Galicia, in the kingdom of Spain. 

This was certainly the occasion of tho voyage of Ith, the son 
of Breogan, to Ireland ; and what some imagine is more than a 
fiction, that he discovered the island in a starry winter night, 
with a telescope, from the top of the tower of Brigantia ; for we 
have the greatest authority from the ancient chronicles of Ire- 
land, to believe that there was a strict friendship and correspon- 
dence by navigation and traffic, between the Spaniards and the 
Irish, from the time that Eochaidh, the son of Eire, the last king 
of the Firbolgs in Ireland, was married to Tailte, the daughter 
of Maghmore, king of Spain ; so that the people of the two na- 
tions were well acquainted with one another long before Ith, the 
son of Breogan, was born. And this account is sufficient to de- 
stroy the credit of that idle fancy, that Ith, and the family of 
Breogan, first discovered the country of Ireland with an optical 
instrument, from the top of the tower of Briga,ntia ; and puts it be- 
yond dispute, that there was long before a constant familiarity and 
acquaintance between the Irish and the Spaniards. 

Ith, who, as we observed before, was a prince of great learning 
and prudence, was of an enterprising genius, and furnished with 
many other princely accomplishments, fitted out a ship with 
provisions and necessaries, and manned her with 150 of thti 
most resolute and hardy soldiers of the Gadelians. He took with 
him on board his sou Lughaidh or Laugadius, weighed anchor, 
p ud set sail for Ireland. He arrived upon the northern coast of 
the island, and when he had landed his men, he sacrificed with 


OF IRFLAaD. ' 121 

great devotion to Neptune, the god of the seas, but the omens 
were not propitious. A number of the inhabitants soon came 
to the shore, and called to him, in Irish, to know his business, 
and the country he was of ; he answered them distinctly in the 
same language, and told them, that he was of the same tribe, 
descended from the great Magog as well as themselves ; and 
ihat the original Irish was the language in use, and inviolably 
preserved in his family. 

From this transaction in the Book of Conquests, the most an- 
cient of the Irish antiquaries conclude, that the Irish tongue 
was the genuine language of Nemedius and his people, and con- 
sequently, of the Firbolgs and the Tuatha de Danans. And thij 
seems to be more than probable from what was observed before, 
that Gaoidhal, the son of Eathoir, by the direction and com 
mand of Feniusa Farsa, king of Scythia, reduced the Irish lan- 
guage into method and regularity ; and from this Gaoidhal the 
grammarian, the Irish tongue, in the same language, is called 
Gaoidhalg, though by a strange corruption, it is called by the 
English the Irish tongue. This Gaoidhal, we have said, in- 
structed the Scythian youth in the public schools, before Ne- 
medius began his voyage from Scythia to Ireland j and the Irish 
tongue was the common language in Scythia, when Nemediua 
came from thence. The Irish chronicles agree, that the Irish 
was the genuine language of Nemedius and his followers, when 
they arrived in Ireland, and was made use of afterwards by the 
posterity of that people ; not to say that the Irish was the na- 
tural language of the posterity of Milesius, and the Gadelians 
in general, from the time that Niul first departed from Scythia. 
The learned Richard Creagh, primate of Ireland, confirms this 
opinion by this remark :* " The Irish language is in common 
use in Ireland, from the coming of Nemedius, 630 years after 
the Flood, even to this day." And therefore it is no way in- 
credible, that Ith, the son of Breogan, and the Tuatha de Da- 
nnns, should converse intelligibly together in the same lan- 

Ith, upon his landing, inquired of the inhabitants the name 
of the island, aud what was the name of the prince that go- 
verned it at that time. They answered him, the name of the 
ivsland was Inis alga, and that it was under the domiuion of 
three princes, the three sons of Cearmada Miorbheoil, the son 
of Daghdha, as was before mentioned. They told him likewise, 

• Gallica locutio est in usii in Hibernia, ab adventn "NTemedi', anno 630 a 
DUuvio, in liunc usqiif (Vieiu Gf 

123 Ta:i, g :neral history 


thcat these three kings were all together at a place callod Oil- 
each Neid, on the confiues of the province of Ulster, and were 
quarrelling about a number of jewels that were left them by 
their ancestors ; and the dispute ran so high, that the contest, 
in all likelihood, would be decided by the sword. 

Upon this information Ith made choice of 100 of his trusty 
Gadelians, leaving the remaining 50 to guard the ship, and be- 
gan his march with all expedition to Oileach Neid. When he 
arrived, he found there the three princes of the island, the sons 
of Cearmada, who received him with great civility, and all out- 
ward marks of respect, and related to him the occasion of the 
controversy that was between them. Ith returned their com- 
pliments, and told them, that it was by chance that he came 
into the island, and was driven upon the coasts by stress of 
weather ; that ho had no design to continue long, but to return 
with all convenient speed into his own country. The three 
kings, observing the prndence of his answers, and that ho was a 
person of great abilities, resolved, by general consent, to choose 
him umpire of the differences between them, and obliged them* 
selves to be determined by his arbitration. Upon a fair stating 
of the dispute, Ith was of opinion that the jewels ought to be 
equally divided between them. 

W hen the debate was at an end, Tth took upon him to recom- 
mciend friendship and unanimity to the brothers ; and told them 
he thought they had no occasion to quarrel among themselves, 
since Providence had made them princes of so fruitful an island, 
that abounded with honey, acorns, milk, fish, and plenty 
of- corn ; that the air was neither hot nor cold, but exceeding 
temperate and wholesome for human bodies ; and that the coun- 
try was of so large an extent, that if it was divided equally be- 
tween them, there would be sufficient to satisfy the wants, or 
even the ambition of every one of them. When he had ended 
his advice, and gratefully acknowledged their civilities, he took 
his leave, and departed with his retinue, in order to go ou 

The three brothers, the sons of Cearmada, observing what 
encomiums this foreigner bestowed upon the island, and how 
feelingly he expressed himself upon the air and the fertility of 
the country, were jealous he would give so great a character of 
the kingdom of Ireland, upon his return, that the Gadelians 
would soon pay them a visit, in order to make a conquest of it ; 
and therefore Mac Cuill, one of the brothers, was immediately 
dispatched, with 150 select resolute soldiers, in pursuit of Ith. 


They overtook him, and immediatel3^ fell upon his rear ; Ith per- 
ceiving the attack, came to the relief of his men, and by his con- 
duct and uncommon bravery made good his retreat, till he came 
to a place called Muigh Ith, called so from this Ith, the com- 
mander of the Gadelians. Here the Gadelians faced about, and 
both companies advancing in order, a most desperate and bloody 
battle was fought for many hours ; and Ith, notwithstanding he 
was supported by the bravest handful of troops that ever the 
world bred, was mortally wounded in the action. His followers, 
perceiving their general in this distress, and despairing of victory, 
carried him oflP, and retired safely with him on shipboard, where 
he died of his wounds, before they were^ able to reach the Span- 
ish coasts. I am sensible som-e of the Irish historians assert, 
that Ith was killed at Dromligon, and there was buried ; yet I 
choose to follow this account, because I find it related by the 
undoubted testimony of the best Irish authors. 

Before the soldiers of Ith arrived in Spain, that incomparable 
prince, Mclesius, died, after he had reigned in that country for 
thirty-six years. He was, as the chronicles of Ireland give his 
character, a prince of the greatest honour and generosity ; and 
for courage, conduct, and military bravery, the world never saw 
his equal since the Creation. When Lughaidh, the son of Ith, 
had landed his father's body, he showed it to the sons of Milesius, 
and related the treacherous circumstances of his death, which so 
enraged the Gadelians, that they solemnly vowed revenge upon 
the three sons of Cearmada, and engaged to sacrifice their blood 
to the manes of their grand-uncle, and to drive them out of the 

But before I begin to give an account of this adventure of the 
Milesians, in order to the invasion of Ireland, it may not be im- 
proper to answer the peevish objections of some ignorant authors, 
who have the front to assert, that it was impossible the Gade- 
lians, who knew nothing of navigation, and understood neither 
fiea-card or compass, should attempt a voyage from Spain to 
Ireland ; and that there were no ships or shipwrights in the 
world, when the Milesians are said to invade the island. But 
a small acquaintance with history will inform us, that, soon after 
the Deluge, the posterity of Noah began to build ships in imi- 
tation of the Ark, and, by continued practice, became great 
proficients in that art ; insomuch, that not long after the Flood- 
they had invented several sorts of transports, to convey colonies 
of people from the continent of Armenia, where Noah lived, into 
remote islands and distant countries. Can an}- one think it 
possible, that the posterity of Noah, who, by ihe direction of 


Providence, were to inhabit almost all parts, of the earth, and 
were spread all over the face of it, conld possibly arrive over 
rivers, and seas, and oceans, into countries they were to possess, 
without the use of shipping and navigj^Lion? And it is to be 
denied, that several islands and distant parts of the world, which 
could never be come at by land, were peopled by the posterity 
of Noah, long before the sea-card or ^compass was discovered ? 
This is so obvious to common undei'standing, that it is needles 
to insist farther upon it. And it is evidenj^/reyond dispute, 
that the islands in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, Pontic, and 
Western seas, and many others, were inhabited long before the 
modern methods of navigation were known in the world ; as 
appears from the histories of the first discoveries of those islands, 
that give the earliest accounts of the inhabitants, and the first 
peopling of them. 

We meet frequently, in the Irish histories, with, many voyages 
made by a sort of Africans, who often landed upon the island ; 
and there we have an account of certain stars , and the names 
of them, that were worshipped by the mariners, and were sup- 
posed to derive a power from the god of the sea, either to misguide 
the ship, or to conduct her safe into the port. Infinite is the 
number of authors that mention the siege and destruction of 
Troy by the resolute Grecians, which happened, as Scaliger 
computes, 1240 years before the birth of Christ, though Euse- 
bius places it earlier by 2 1 years ; but be it more or less, we 
are certain the Greeks fitted out a numerous fleet, consisting al- 
most of an incredible number of ships of all rates. The Afri- 
cans, the Grecians, and all other nations of the world, are al- 
lowed by all authors, ancient and modern, "to have had fleets at 
E.ea, and to make long voyages, before the use of a sea-card or 
compass was ever known. But I am not surprised at the par- 
tiality of these petty historians, who exclude the Gadelians, a peo- 
ple ever esteemed the most ingenious and enterprising of any 
in the world, from the use of shipping and navigation, when 
they prostitute their pens upon all occasions, to obscure the 
glory, and to deface the venerable antiquities of the Irish na- 

Let me for once recommend to them the twenty-seventh and 
twenty-eighth chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, where the 
holy writer gives a relation cf 3t. Paul's voyage from Jerusalem 
to Rome, with these memorable circumstances, that the ship 
was of a large size, and able to contain 276 persons ; that she 
had sails and anchors, and that the mariners steered by the 

OF liiELAND. 125 

stars, long before the chart or compass was discovered : so that 
this objection is of no manner of force, but designed only to 
destroy the authority of the Irish records, which give an account 
of the voyage of the Gadelians from Spain into Ireland ; and to 
impose upon the world with a fiction, that the Gadelians came 
from some other country, and were accidentally driven upon 
the Irish coasts ; and for no other reason but because they 
could not steer by the compass, which at that time was undis- 
covered. But the ancient chronicles of Ireland shall ever be a 
guide to me ; and unless we depend upon their authority, it is 
impossible to arrive at any certainty of the antiquities, and the 
religious or political state of that kingdom. 


Hector Boetius, in his history of Scotland, is of opinion that 
Heber and Heremon were the sons of Gadelas ; but this asser- 
tion is opposed, for, very good reasons, by the learned Cormao 
Mac Cuillenan, who affirms, that Gadelas was cotemporary with 
IMoses j and observes likewise, from the Book of Conquests, or 
Invasions, that the Milesians invaded Ireland 283 years after 
Pharaoh Cingcris, king of Egypt, perished in the Red sea, and 
therefore it is impossible that Gadelas should be the father of 
Heber and Hemeron : which appears 3^et more evident, from, 
the computation of Cormac Mac Cuillenan of the several ances- 
tors of Gallamh, otherwise called Milesius, king of Spain, who 
was the father of Heber and Hemeron. I shall represent the 
distinct genealogy of Milesius, to show that Gadelas was not 
the father of these two young princes, but lived nineteen gene- 
rations before them. This pedigree is extracted from that most 
valuable record, the Psalter of CasheL 

Gallamh, or Milesius, son of Bille, son of Breogan, son of 
Bratha, son of Deaghatha, son of Earchada, son of Alloid, son 
cf Nuagatt, son of Nenuaill, son of Feibhricglas, son of Heber 
Glunfionn, son of Ldmhfionn, son of Adhnoin, son of Tait, son 
cf Ogamhan, son of Heber Scot, son of Sru, son of Easru, so\, 
of Gadelas, son of Niul, son of Feniusa Farsa, son of Baath, 
eon of Magog, son of Japhet, son of Noah, son of Lamech. 

Whoever reads the Scottish history of Hector Boetius would 
be apt to imagine, that he intended another Gadelas, from whom 
the Gadelians in Scotland were derived, different from tha' 
Gadelas who was the great ancestor of the Irish ; but I depend 
upon the testimony of a learned author, who asserts, that the 


GadeliaDS in Ireland and Scotland originally descended from 
the same founder. Johannes Major affirms, in proof of this,* 
" My opinion is, that from whomsoever the Irish were derived, 
the Scots owe their original to the same founder." And vene- 
rable Bede, in the first chapter of his Kcclesiastical history, 
agrees with the judgment of this author ; where he says,t " In 
process of time, the country of Britain, after it had been inha- 
bited by the Britons and Picts, was possessed on the side of the 
Picts, by a nation of the Scots, who came out of Ireland, under 
the conduct of Keuda, and made themselves masters of those 
lands, either by friendship or by the sword, which they enjoy to 
this day." From whence it appears, that the Scottish race 
came originally out of Ireland into 'Scotland, under Reuda their 
general, and that the present Scots are the descendants of that 
colony, Humfredus, a Welsh author, thus delivers his opinion 
upon the same subject.!|; '* The Scots themselves, and others, 
well know that the Scots are the ofTspring of the Irish, and that 
our countrymen, the Welsh, called them bothby the same name, 
Guidhil, that is, Gadel^ians." Giraldus Cambrensis, in the 
16th chapter of the third distinction of the book he wrote upon 
the history of Ireland, says, that Niall, of the nine hostages, 
was the monarch of Ireland ; that the six sons of Murieadhach, 
or Mortaugh, king of Ulster, made a voyage to Scotland, where 
they grew powerful, and by their courage made themselves mas- 
ters of the country, and obtained the principal command of it ; 
and that at that time they gave it the name of Scotia, or Scot- 
land. His words are,§ " The Scottish nation descended from 
them is particularly so called to this day." So that what Hec- 
tor Boetius attempts to prove upon this subject, in his history of 
Scotland, is a downright falsehood ; and he is to be esteemed 
fabulous, when he asserts that Gadelas was the father of Heber 
and Heremon, the sons of Milesius, and would impose another 
Gadelas upon the world, as the ancestor of the Scottish nation, 
different from that Gadelas who was the founder of the Milesian^ 
and made a conquest of the kingdom of Ireland. 

Buchanan, a t-cottish writer in his history of Scotland, would 

* Dico ergo, a quibiiscunque Hiberni originem duxerunt, ab eisdem Scoti 
eKordium capiuiit. 

t Procedente autem tempore Britannia, post Britones et Pictos, Scotorum 
nationem in Pictorum parte recepit, qui duce Rouda de Hiberaia egressi, vel 
aiTiicitia, vel ferro, sibimet inter eossedes, quas hactenus habent, vindicarunt. 

J Scotos Hibernorum prolem, et ipsi et omnes optime norunt, eodeinque nomme 
a ni^stratibus scilicet Guidhil appellantur. 

§ Gens ab his propa^ata specificate vocabulo Scoti ca vocatur in hodicmiuiL 

OP IRtLAKD. 127 

have it believed, that the progeny of Milesiiis came directly from 
France into Ireland ; and in confirmation he gives three reasons, 
which he thinks sufficiently prove it. 

The first, the kingdom of France vns grown so populous, that 
from that part of it only, called Gallia Lugdunensis, there went 
out a colony of 300,000 able men, with a design to make a con- 
quest of other countries ; and some of these, he says, were the 
posterity of Gadelas, and came into Ireland. But this author 
seems to be grossly ignorant of the time when* the Milesians got 
possession of the island, and could therefore have no knowledge 
whether the country of France was over-stocked with inhabitants 
or not. But supposing that France could spare great colonies 
jf its people, at the time when the Milesians invaded Ireland, is 
there not the same reason to believe, that the kingdom of Spain, 
not far distant, abounded with inhabitants, and was equally 
populous, and sent out colonies 1 so that this argument is no way 
convincing, to prove that the Gadelians came out of France ; 
for, by the same reason, they might as well set out from Spain, 
or from any other country whose people were too numerous, and 
therefore obliged to send colonies abroad. 

His second reason carries just as much evidence with it as tho 
first ; the Milesians, he says, must unavoidably come out of 
France, because there is a great resemblance between the French 
and the Irish languages, particularly in the words Dris and Dun, 
with some others which have the same signification in both. In 
answer we are to observe, that there are many words, borrowed 
from all languages, to be met with in the fourth degree of the 
Ii ish tongue, that have been admitted from the reign of Feniusa 
Farsa to the present time ; and as we find many French words 
intermixed, so there are. a great many Spanish, Italian, Greek 
and Hebrew words, and others of the other principal languages 
of the world, to be discovered in the modern Irish, which, by 
reason of the intercourse of other nations, is strangely difierent 
ftom the purity of the original language. But this is no proof 
that the Milesians came out of France ; for notwithstanding there 
may be words of the same signification in both languages, yet 
the reason of it was, as Julius Ceesar observes, in the sixth book 
of his Commentaries, because the druids, who were a sort of 
priests and soothsayers, went from the British isles into France, 
and were received with such veneration in the country, that 
they were advanced to be their judges, and were invested with 
large patrimonies, privileges, and immunities, by the nobility 
nd gentry of that nation : or perhaps these and other words? 


were introduced into France by Manann, that was subject to 
the Gadeiians, and wtiose natural language was the Irish tongue. 

Artelius observes that the pure Irish was the genuine language 
of Manann ; from whence it appears that the British druids or 
augurs went out of the island of Ireland into France ; for in 
those ages Ireland was the fountain of knowledge and learning 
and by the druids, who travelled abroad, the youth of the neigh- 
bouring countries were instructed in the liberal arts and sciences ^ 
and since the natural language of these druids must be the Irish, 
it is easy to suppose that the French youths collected many Irish 
u ords, and introduced them into their own tongue, and they are 
?J0 continued to be used to this day. 

The learned Camden, in his Britannia, informs us, that the- 
druids or soothsayers more commonly taught the youth in their 
schools by word of mouth, than by writing and books ; and as a 
farther reason how some Irish words came to be intermixed in 
the French tongue, it must be known, as the Book of Conquests 
observes, that the French and Irish had a correspondence with 
one another by navigation and traffic ; and that the daughter of 
the king of France was married to Ugainemore, one of the mon- 
archs of Ireland, who made war with the French ; and likewise, 
that Criomhthan, the sou of Fiodhadh, another king of th^ island, 
attempted to conquer the country. The Irish often transported 
their forces into France. Niail, of the nine hostages, long after 
Ugaine, at the head of a numerous army, designed to over-run 
tiie country, and make it tributary to the Irish, and, humanly 
speaking would have succeeded in his invasion, had he not been 
treacherously shot with an arrow by Eochaidh, the son of Eana 
Cinnsealach, king of Leinster, by the river Loire, in France ; as 
shall be more particularly related in the course of this history. 
Dathi, the son of Fiachradh, another Irish monarch, raised a 
great army, and landed in France ; he marched through the 
country, and spoiled the inhabitants as far as the Alps, and de- 
sigrfed entirely to subdue the kingdom ; but he was destroyed by 
Providence before he had accomplished his purpose, and slain by 
a thunderbolt at the foot of the Alps. We have the testimony 
likewise of Cornelius Tacitus, that there v/as a great correspon- 
dence, by means of trade, between Ireland and France : and 
therefore the wonder seems to be at an end, how it came to pass, 
that the Irish and French borrowed some words one of another, 
and admitted them into their own language ; for the reasons that 
we have produced evidently show that it was impossible it should 
be otherwise, and sufficiently overthrow the argument of Bu- 

OF ir.ILA^D. 120 

chanan, by which he offers to prove that the Gadelians fjailed 
from France into Ireland, 

His third supposition is of no more credit than the two we 
have already confuted. He fancies that there is a great resem- 
blance between the manners and customs of the French and 
Irish, and therefore the Gadelians must necessarily come out of 
France : but Johannes Belinus, in his book wherein he describes 
the customs and manners of all nations in the world, makes no 
such remark ; and therefore the observation of Buchanan in this 
case is singular, and like other fictions to be met with in his his- 
tory deserves no credit. 

Having answered the reasons of this Scottish writer, I am 
now to reply to the opinion of some English authors, who pre- 
tend to treat of Ireland, and assert that the Gadelians. or the 
posterity of Milesins, came originally from Britain, and got pos- 
session of the island. Their arguments are much the same with 
those already answered : and first they say, that many words 
in the British and Irish language have the same signification ; 
but this can be no evidence that the Gadelians were the inha- 
bitants of Britain, and so removed into Ireland, because the 
country of Britain received its name from Briotan Maol, a 
Scythian by descent, whose language was the pure Irish. Cam- 
den says,* "Britain was so called from a prince whose name 
was Briotan." The learned Cormac Mac Cuilieaan, in his 
Psalter of Cashel, and the Book of Conquests, and the Inva- 
rs ons of Ireland, gives the same account ; and observes, that 
Britain received its name from Briotan Maol, the sou of Fergus 
Leathdearg, son of Nemedius, whose language was the original 
Irish. This Briotan Maol (descended from that noble Scythian, 
Nemedius) lived in Britain, and his posterity after him, till 
Heremon, the son of king Milesius, sent the Picts to make a 
settlement in the couutrj^ of Scotland. They were afterwards 
invaded by Brutus, the son of Silvias, as some chronicles relate; 
and afterwards they were attacked by the Eomans, the Saxons, 
the Danes, and then by William the Conqueror, and thb 
French ; so that after so many confusions and invasions of eiie- 
mies, it is not to be wondered, tha^^ ^he Irish tongue, the genuine 
language of Briotan Maol and his posterity, from whom de- 
scended the warlike Britains, should be strangely corrupted, and 
almost utterly destroyed. But ilotwithstanding the alterations 
liiai; language has received, yet some part of it remains pure 

* ]>ritannia dicta est a (j-.;crlare qui voeabatiiv BriUraus. 


aul unmixed, and is the same with the ancient Irish, that was 
spoken by Briotan Maol and his posterity. 

Another reason to account for the near resemblance between 
the British and the Irish languages, is this observation, that the 
island of Ireland was the common refuge of the Britains in their 
wars,, when they were pressed hard, and driven out of their own 
"country by the Romans, the Saxons, and other enemies who in- 
vaded them ; so that many families, for fear of slaughter and 
captivity, fled into Ireland, and were not only protected and 
secured by the arms of the generous and warlike Irish, but had 
lands assigned them for their support, exempt from all taxes 
and public contributions, as long as they thought fit to stay in 
the country. During their residence among these hospitable 
people, no doubt but the children of the Britains became ac- 
quainted with the Irish language ; and from them many of the 
villages they inhabited retain their name to this day ; such as 
Graig na Mbreathnach, Sliabh na Mbreathnach, Bally na 
Mbreathnach, and many others. When these Britains thought 
they might return with safety into their own country, they left 
the island, and constantly used many Irish words and expres- 
sions, and so did their posterity. This is a just account of the 
reason of the analogy there is between the British and the Irish 
language : and how far this will be admitted as an evidence, 
that the Gadelians came originally from Britain, every impar 
tial person is at liberty to judge. 

I confess there is a very remarkable resemblance between the 
Irish and the Britains in their manners and customs. They 
are both a warlike, a generous, and a brave people, distinguished 
for their justice and integrity ; free and hospitable in their 
houses ; lovers of learning and learned men ; curious in chro- 
nology, and exact in the genealogies of their families ; admirers 
of poets and music, and particularly delighted with the harp ; 
and in other commendable instances, there is a very near like- 
ness in the disposition, the genius, and practice of both nations. 
But this is so far from being a testimony, that the Gadelians 
came out of Britain into Ireland, that it rather confirms what 
was observed before, that the Britains borrowed their langua,o(e, 
their manners, and customs from the Irish ; and farther it is 
certain, that some of the principal officers, who followed the 
Milesians into Ireland, did afterwards leave the island and set- 
tied themselves in the country, of Britain. 

The. sons of Breogan, who camo with the Gadelians into Ire- 
land; were Breogha, Fuaid, Muirtht^»mhn'j Cuailgne^ Cuala, 

• OF IRELAND. 131 

Eibhle, Blaidh, and Nar ; and from the posterity of Breogan, 
no doubt, descended the people called Brigantes, as the ancient 
chronicles of Ireland inform us : and what confirms this opi- 
nion is, the remark of Thomasius, in his Latin Expository Dic- 
tionary, who says, that the Brigantes, or the children of Breo- 
gan, were descended from a family in Ireland, notwithstanding 
they inhabited the counties of York, Lancaster, Durham, West- 
moreland and Cumberland in Great Britain. So that the diffi- 
culty is cleared, and we are now sufficiently informed of the 
reason that many words of the same signification are to be 
found in the respective languages as British and Irish ; and 
that the Britajns copied after the Irish, not only in their lan- 
guage, but in many of the polite customs and manners of that 
illustrious people. 

The learned Camden (an author fond of the honour of his 
own country) asserts that the original inhabitants of Ireland 
came oiit of Britain. But this writer, though ever so well versed 
in the antiquities of the English nation, must yet be a stranger 
to the early histories of Ireland, because he was unacqi:ainted 
with the language they were wrote in ; and therefore I choose 
to be directed by the ancient records of the kingdom, rather 
than by the ill-grounded supposition of any modern whatsoever. 
Giraldus Cambrensis, in his legend concerning the Irish affiiirs, 
relates, that the Milesians came originally from Biscany into Ire- 
land, by the command or permission of a king of Britian ; and 
that by the persuasion of the same king they possessed them- 
selves of the Orcades, and from thence transported a colony of 
many families into Ireland. His design it seems, by inviting 
these foreigners, was to bring the island into his own power, and 
to reduce it into the form of a tributary province to his own 
kingdom. The name of this prince, if we believe this writer, was 
Gorgundus, the son of Peilin, But this is an apparent fiction 
and falsehood, as will appear evidently, if we consult the chroni- 
cle of Stow, which proves to demonstration that Gorgundus 
was king of Britain not much above 300 years before Julius 
Caesar made a conquest of the kingdom, in the eighth year of the 
reign of Cassibelan, who was king at that time ; and the same 
author observes, that there were not many above 52 years from 
Julius Caesar to the birth of Christ : so that by the computation 
of Stow, there were not full 400 years from the reign of Gor- 
gin:!dus till Christ was born. Now we are assured by the faith- 
lid Oorraac Mac Cuillenan, in his Psalter of Cashel, and in thv^ 
book of the Conquests of Ireland, that the Milesians landed in 


the island about 1300 years before the birth of Christ. The au- 
thor of the Polyehronicon agrees with this account, where he 
says,* " From the coming of the Milesians into Ireland to the 
death of St. Patrick, are 1800 years :" This is as much as to say, 
that the Milesians landed in the island about 1300 years before 
Christ was born ; for by subtracting the 492 years that passed 
between the coming of Christ and the death of St. Patrick, the 
remaining years will be about 1300, which is about the number 
between the coming of the Milesians into Ireland, and the birth 
Df Christ. So that we have the testimony of Cormac Mac Cull- 
ienan, the book of Invasions, and the Polyehronicon, to balance 
against the fabulous account of Cambrensis. And by these au- 
thorities it appears, that the Milesians were in Ireland above 
900 years before Gorgundus was king of Great Britain ; which 
overthrows the fiction of this idle writer, who would have it be 
lieved, that Gorgundus invited the Milesians from Biscany, that 
they landed in the Orcades, and sent a coloDy of families into 
Ireland to inhabit the country ; when that king was not born, by 
many hundred years, as the ancient records of the kingdom in- 
form us ; to whose authority I shall pay the utmost deference, 
r.s it is impossible without them to open a light into these dis- 
tant transactioDs, and to confute the errors and falsehoods of 
modern historians, who attempt, without the assistance of the 
Irish Chronicles, to write about the antiquities of that kingdom. 
These difficulties being cleared up, I now proceed directly to .the 
course of the history. 

It has been observed before that when Lnighaidh, the son of 
Itb, had brought the body of his father on shore, he exposed it 
opecly, and related the perfidious manner of his death before an 
iit:sembly of the descendants of Milesius, and the sons of Breogan. 
The tragical sight, and the treachery of the Irish princes, had 
tiiat effect upon the spectators, that they came into a resolution 
xmanimously to invade the island, to destroy the inhabitants, 
and the cruel tyrants that governed them, and fix a new settle- 
ment in the country. Pursuant to this design, they fitted out 
a fleet, and raised a gallant army of the Gadelians, in order to 
wrest the kingdom from the power of the Tuatha de Danans. 
Some chronicles assert, that the Milesians began their voyage 
from a place called Mandoca, near the river Verundo, in Biscany ; 
and the ground of this opinion is, because they say Milesius was 
king of Biscany only in the latter part of his life ; for he was 

* Ab advontu Iliberniensun^, ucqvx- ?.d obitir.n Sr.ucti Patrki Kuut aiiui mill*) 
octi cen'ii. 


driven out q£ Spaia by the incursions of foreigners, who. with 
their united force, had the better of him in several engagements, 
and confined him and his people within the narrow territories of 
that country, and there he continued till his death ; for the coun- 
try was fortified by nature, very difi&cult of access, and impos- 
sible to be subdued, by reason of the vast woods and mountains 
that inclosed it. But this is opposed by the testimony of the 
most valuable a-nd authentic records, which affirm, that the Mile- 
sians set sail for Ireland from Tor Breogan in Gahcia. And this 
seems to be the truest account, for the book of Conquests or In- 
vasions says, that Tor Breogan was the place they held a council, 
and determij>ed to send Ith into Ireland ; and thither Luighaidh 
returned from Ireland with the dead body of his father, when he 
exposed hiji wounds to the family of Milesius, and the sons of 
Bi-eogan ; and therefore it seems reasonable to believe, that they 
steered from that place to invade the island. 

Milesius being dead before Luighaidh returned, Scota, his 
wife, resolved to leave the country, and to follow the fortune of 
the sons she had by Milesius in this expedition : for the kingdom 
of Spain was rent in pieces by intestine wars, and the continual 
inroads of foreign enemies. The Milesians, therefore, having 
j)ut their provisions and their men on board, weighed anchor, 
snd were impatient till they landed upon the Irish coast, to re- 
venge the death of the valiant Ith, who was inhumanly slain, 
in defiance of the established laws of nature and of nations. 
This invasion they undertook under the command of forty brave 
commanders. The learned Eochaidh o Flinn has transmitted 
to us their names in a poem of his, which begins thus, Taoisig 
na luing sin tar lear. 

Tlip. valiant chiefs of the Milesian race. 
Who led the bold Gadeiians into Ireland, 
Were Eibhle, Fuaid, Breagha, Bladhbhin, 
Luighaidh, Muirtheimhne, Amergin, Buas, 
Breas, Bviaiglme, Donn, Ir, Heber, Heremon, 
Colpa, the swordsman, Eibher, Aireach, 
A)Tanan, Cuala, Cualgne, Narumrxe, 
Tduimhne, Luighne and Laighne, 
Fulman, Mantan, Bile, Er, Orba, Fearon, 
Feargin, En, Un, Eadan, Goisden, Seagda, 
Sobhairce, Suirge, Palap, son of Heremon, 
Tiie learned Caicer, son of Maman, warriors, all, 
Fidl of revenge, sailed towards the Irish coast. 

The number of their ships was thirty, and they disposed 
thirty of the most courageous of their troops in every ship : 


they had their wr-e? Kkewise on board, and many others fol- 
lowed them, out cf a prospect of obtaining possessions in this 
new plantation. 

From these principal officers, who commanded in this expe- 
dition, many places in Ireland obtained their names. Breagha, 
son of Breogan, gave the name to Moighe Breagha in Meath : 
Cuala, son of Breogan, gave the name to Sliabh Cuala : Cualgne, 
j=5on of Breogan, gave the name to Sliabh Cualgne : Bladh, son 
of Breogan, gave the name to Sliabh Bladhma : Fuaid, son of 
Breogan, gave the name, to Sliabh Fuaid : Muirtheimhne, son 
of Breoghan, gave the name to Sliabh Muirtheimhne, other- 
wise called the plain of Muirtheimhne : Luighaidh, son of Ith, 
who came to Ireland to revenge his f ither's death, gave the 
name to Sorca-Luighe, in Munster : Eibhle, the son of Breo- 
gan, gave the name to Sliabh Eibhlo, in Munster : the generals 
Buas, Breas and Buaighne, the three sons of Tigeharnbard, the 
soci of Brighe Nare, gave the name to Ross Nare, at Sliabh 
Bladhma : Seagda, Fulmane, and Mantane, Caicer and his son 
Sobhairce, Er, Orba, Fearon and Feargna ; the four sons of 
Heber, En, Un, Eadan and Goisdean ; Sobhairce, whose father 
is unknown ; Bille, the son of Frighet, ,3?n of Breogan ; the 
eight sons of Milesius, Donn, Aireach, Fabhruadhe, Heber Fionn, 
Amergiu, Ir, Colpa the swordsman, and Arranhan the youngest ; 
the four sons of Heremon, Muimhue, Luighne, Laighne, and 
Palpa ; Heber or Eibher, the only son of Ir, the son of Milesius : 
these were the forty commanding officers who conducted the 
Gadelians into Ireland. Iriel the prophet, the son of Heremon, 
was born after they arrived in the island. 

The Milesian fleet first attempted to land upon the northern 
coast of Leinster, at a place then called Inbher Slainge, but now 
known by the name of the harbour of Wexford. The Tuatha 
de Danans, alarmed at the number of the ships, immediately 
flocked towards the shore, and by the power of their enchant- 
ments and diabolical arts they cast such a cloud over the whole 
island, that the Milesians were confounded, and thought they 
saw nothing but the resemblance of a Hog ; and for this reason 
the island was called Muicinis. The inhabitants, by these delu- 
sions, hindered the Milesians from landing their forces, so that 
they were obliged to sail about the island, till at last, with great 
difficulty, they came on shore at Inbher Sceine, in the west of 
Munster. From thence they marched in good order to a moun- 
tain called Sliabh Mis ; here they were met by Eanba, attended 
by a beautiful train of ladies, and followed by her druids and 


Eoofchsayers. Amergin, the Milesian, addressed himself to her, 
and desired the honour to know her name ; she answered, her 
name was Banba, and from her the island was called Inis Banba. 
From thence they proceeded on their march, and arrived at 
Sliabh Eibhline, where the princess Fodhla met them, with a 
retinue of ladies and druids about her ; they desired to know 
her name, and she replied, her name was Fodhla, which also 
was the name of the island. They went on, and came to Vis- 
neach, where they were met by Eire and her attendants ; she 
was likewise desired to discover her name, and she told them 
her name was Eire, and from her the country was called Eire. 
This transaction is confirmed by the testimony of an ancient 
poet, who, in a poem that begins thus, Sanna buuadhus na 
ngaoidhiol, has these lines : 

JBanba they met, with all her princely train, 
On Sliabh Mis ; and on the fruitful plain 
Of Sliabh Eibhline, Fodhla next they spied, 
With priests and learned druids for her guide, 
And all her charming court of ladies by her side ; 
Then virtuous Eire appeared in pomp and state, 
In Yisneach's pleasant fields, majestically great. 

These ladies were married to the three sons of Cearmada, whc 
divided the island between them, though some of the Irish 
chronicles assert, that each of them ruled alternatively over the 
whole kingdom, and the country was for the time called by the 
name of the reigning prince. This appears from the following 
verges : 

These Irish kings alternatively reigned. 
And for their consorts chose three princesses, 
Fodhla, Banba and Eire. 

The Milesians, after this adventure, continued their march 
till they came to the palace of Teamair, where the sons of Cear- 
mada kept their court, and appeared in great grandeur and 
magnificence, encompassed with their enchanted guards. Amergin 
immediately addressed himself to the throe kings, and resolutely 
demanded of them to resign their government, or be decided by 
the hazard of a pitched battle ; and this he insisted upon in 
revenge for the death of the valiant Ith, whom they had trea- 
cherously slain. The prince of the Tuatha de Danans, surprised 
at this bold summons, made answer that they were not prepared 
to decide the dispute in a military way, because they had no 
standing forces, and could not instantly bring an army into the 
field ; but they were willing the whole affair should be deter- 


mined by the arbitration of Amergin, who they perceived waa 
a person of great judgment and abilities, but threatened binri 
withal, that if he imposed any unjust conditions, they would 
certainly destroy him by their enchantments. Amergin imme- 
diately ordered the Gadelians to retire to Inbher Sceine, and 
with all possible expedition to hasten on shipboard, with the 
rest of the Gadelians, and to sail out of the mouth of the har- 
bour, or as others say, nine waves from the shore ; then he made 
this proposal to the Tuatha de Danans, that if they could hinder 
his men from landing in the island, he, with his whole fleet, 
would return into Spain, and never make any other attempt 
upon the country ; but if he and his resolute Gadelians could, 
in defiance of them, land upon their coast, the Tuatha do 
Danans should resign the government and become their tribu- 
taries. This offer was well accepted by the inhabitants, who, 
depending upon the influence of their art, thought they should 
soon get rid of these insolent invaders ; for they had that com- 
mand over the elements by their enchantments, that they made 
no question of preventing them from ever setting foot upon the 
shore again. 

In obedience to the com.mand of Amergin, the Milesians re- 
turned to their shipping, and he went on board with them ; 
they weighed anchor, and moved no more than the distance of 
nine waves from the shore. The Tuatha de Danans perceiving 
the ships were afloat, confiding in their art, had immediate re- 
course to their enchantments, which succeeded so far as to raise 
a most violent and tempestuous wind, which soon disordered 
, the Milesian fleet, and drove them foul one upon another. A^mer- 
gin and Donu, the sons of Milesius, knew the storm proceeded 
from no natural cause, and Arranan, the youngest son of the 
brave Milesius, went up to the topsail to make discoveries, but 
was unfortunately blown off by a gust of wind, and falling upon 
the hatch he instantly died. The Gadelians began to be in 
great confusion, for the ships were dreadfully tossed, and the 
whole fleet was in danger of being lost : the vessel which Donn 
commanded, was, by the violence of the storm, separated from 
the rest of the fleet, and was broken to pieces, and himself and 
fill the crew were drowned. By the wreck of this ship there 
perished four-and- twenty common soldiers, four gailey slaves, 
twelve women, fifty brave Gadelians, who went volunteers, and 
five captains, whose names were Bilie, the son of Brighe, Air- 
ctich Feabhruadh, Buan, Breas, and Cualgne. The valiant Ir, 
the son of Milesius^ with his ship, met with the same fate ;. for 


he was divided from the fleet, and was driven upon the western 
coast of Desmond, in the kingdom of Ireland, where he split 
upon the rocks, and every man perished. The body of this un- 
fortunate prince was cast upon the shore, and was buried in 
a small island called Sceilg Mithill, 

This place, by reason of its peculiar qualities, deserves a 
particular description. It is a kind of rock, situated a few 
leagues in the sea, and since St. Patrick's time, much fre- 
quented by way of piety and devotion ; the top of it is flat 
and plain, and though the depth of the earth be but shallow, it 
is observed to be of a very fattening nature, and feeds abun- 
dance of wild fowl that are forced to be confined upon it ; I 
say they are forced, because the surface of the ground, it is sup- 
posed, has that attractive virtue, as to draw down all the bird^ 
that attempt to fly over it, and oblige them to alight upon the 
rock. The people who live nigh, resort hither in small boats, 
when the sea is calm, to catch these birds, whose flesh being 
very sweet, they use for provision, and their feathers for other 
occasions ; and it is observed, that these fowl, though almost 
innumerable, are exceeding fat, notwithstanding the circum- 
ference of the top of the rock is but small, and does not exceed 
three acres of land. This isle is surrounded with high and al 
most inaccessible precipices, that hang dreadfully over the sea, 
which is generally rough, and roars hideously beneath. There 
is but one track, and that very narrow, that leads up to the top, 
and the ascent is so diflicult and frightful, that few are so 
nardy as to attempt it. 

This Ir, who was so unhappily lost, was a prince of gi-eat 
bravery, and military experience, always in the'front of an en- 
gagement, at the head of his stout Gadelians, attended with suc- 
cess whenever he fought, the guardian and protector of his fol- 
lowers in battle, by his very name a terror to his enemies. The 
posterity of this warlike general were the noble Clana Hugh- 
ruaidhe, who kept a splendid and magnificent court, for the 
space of 900 years, at Famhain Macha, in the province of Ul- 
ster, and for 700 years of the time, were the heroes of the ago 
they lived in, and were reputed the celebrated champions of the 
western parts of Europe, as shall be particularly observed in 
the progress of this Irish history. 

The learned Eochaidh 6 Flinn has taken notice of these mis^ 
fortunes that befel the Milesians at sea, in a poem of his, which 
begiiis thus, Taoisig na luing tar lear, the lines are these ; • 

^^^ . TilB GENERAL HIST Ml y 

The rufiiing winds the toaming billows rise, 
The face of heaven is ravished from their eyes : 
Art fails, and courage falls, no succour near, 
As many waves as many deaths appear. 
The giddy ships run round, and then are tost, " 
Then bulge at once, and in the deep are lost. 
The brave Milesians, to the bottom borne, 
Attempt to rise, but never must return. 
Don, BiUe, Buan, with his %T^rtuous bride, 
Dill, Aireach, Buas, Breas, Cualgne, 
All plunged into the deep, are buried by the tide 

It was observed before, that the ship wherein Ir was, sepa- 
rated from the rest of the fleet, and was lost in the storm, and 
his body driven on shore, and buried ; this shipwreck, and the 
loss of this prince and his two brothers, is lamented by an old 
poet, in these verses : 

Amergin, learned and valiant, fell in battle. 
At Billeteum ; Ir was cast away 
Near the rocky cliffs of Sceilg , and Arranan 
Vv'^as shipwrcck'd on the Irish coasu. 

Heremon, with part of the Milesian fleet, was drives to the 
left, towards the island, and with great difficulty arrived safely 
at Inbher Colpa, now called Drocheda. The place was called 
Inbher Colpa, because Colpa, who went by the name of the 
swordsman, another son of Milesius, was unfortunately drowned 
as he attempted to come on shore. It appears that this enter- 
prise of the Gadelians was fatal to the five sons of Milesins, who 
were lost before the country was conquered, and the Tuatha de 
Danans were dispossessed of the government. The death of 
these five princes is recorded and confirmed by an old poet in 
this manner : 

The sorcerers, by force of wicked magic, 
Summon'd the winds, and in the storm destroy 'd 
Five princes of the famed Milesian race. 

The names of these brothers who perished before the con- 
quest of the island, were Donn, Ir, Aireach, Feabhruadh, Arra- 
nan, and Colpa the swordsman, who were all lost by the en- 
chantment of the inhabitants, end no more than three sons of 
Milesius survived this dreadful tempest, to possess the country ; 
their names were Heber, Heremon, and Amergin, and they 
Imded at Inbher Sceine. 

Three days after Heber and his followers were got on shore, 
they were attacked by Eire, the wife of Mac Breine one of the 

OF IRELAND. ^ 139 

piHnoes of the country, at Sliabh Mis, or the moiintaiu of Mis ; 
this lady was attended by a strong body of men, and a despe- 
rate battle followed, where many were destroyed on both sides. 
In this action Fais, the wife of Un mac Vighe, was slain in a 
valley at the foot of a mountain, which, from her, obtained the 
name of Blean Fais, which signifies the valley of Fais. The 
death of this lady is thus observed by an old poet : 

The valley where the lovely Fais fell, 
From her, as ancient Irish records tell, 
■Obtained the name of Blean Fais. 

Scota, the relict of king Milesius, was likewise slain in this 
engagement, and was buried in another valley on the north 
side of the mountain Sliabh Mis, adj oining to the sea. This valley, 
which was the place of her interment, was called Glean iScoithin, 
or the valley of Scota, as an old poet testifies in these verses : 

Beneath a vale its bosom does display, 
With meadows green, with flowers profusely gay ; 
Where Scota lies, unfortmiately slain, 
' And with her royal tomb gives honor to the plain. 
Mix'd with the first, the fair virago fought, 
Sustain'd the toik of arras, and danger sought ; 
From her the frixxful valley had the name 
01 Glean Scoith, and we may trust to fame. 

This was the first battle that was fought between the Milesians 
and the Tuatha de Danans for the empire of the island, as we 
are informed by the same author in this manner : 

The stout Gadelians first their corn-age try 

At Sliabh Mis, and rout the enemy ; 

Where heroes, pierced -with many a deadly wound, 

Choak'd in their blood, lay gasping on the groxmd ; 

Heroes, whose brave exploits may justly claim 

Triumphant laurels, and immortal fame. 

The persons of note that fell on the side of the Milesians, in 
this action, were the princess Scota, and the lady Fais ; they 
likewise lost two of their principal druids, whose names were Uar 
and Eithir : but there were no more than 300 of the Gadelian 
soldiers missing after the fight, notwithstanding they defeated the 
Tuatha de Danans, and slew 1000 of them. Eire, the wife of 
Mac Greine, one of the princes of the country, with as many of 
her flying troops as she could keep together, retired to Tailton 
and there related the misfortunes she had met with, and how she 
was routed by the enemy, and the choicest of her men were slain. 
The Milesians continued upon the field of battle, burying their 


dead, and celebrating the funeral rites of the two druids -with 
great solemnity. An old poet makes honourable mention of 
this battle, and confirms some of the particulars in these verses. 

On. Sliabh Mig our -warlike Sfjuadrons stood, 

Eager of fight, and prodigal of blood ; 

Victoriojis arms our stout Gadelians bore, 

Ruin behind, and terror march'd before : 

A thousand of the enchanted host are slain, 

They try their charms and magic arts in vain, 

For Avith their niaugled limbs they cover all tli§ plain. 

Three hundred only of our troops are kili'd, 

Who bravely turned the fortune of the field. 

The learned Uar rush'd among the rest, 

But, with repeated blows and wounds oppress'd, 

lie fell, and by his side expiring lay 

Either, a priest, and gasp'd his soul away. 

The victors then the funeral rites prepare, 

Due to their dead companions of the Avar. 

It was observed before, that eight of the commanding officers 
of the Milesians were unfortunately destroyed at sea, by the en- 
chantments of the Tuatha de Danans : Ir was lost at Sceilg Mih- 
chil ; Arranan was dashed to pieces by a fall from the topsail ; 
Donn, with five of the principal Gadelians, was drowned at a 
place called Teach Dainn, in the west of Ireland. Eight ladies 
likewise of the first quality perished at sea ; two lost their lives 
when Donn was shipwrecked ; their names were Buan, the wife 
of Bille, and Dil^ the daughter of Milesius, the wife and sister of 
Donn. Sceine, the wife of Amergin, was unfortunately cast 
away at Inbher Sceine. From the misfortune of this lady the 
river was called Inbher Sceine, or the river of Sceine, for Inbher 
signifies a river ; and it is known by the same name in the county 
of Kerry, to this day. 

Fial, the wife of Lughaidh, was a lady of strict virtue and un- 
common modesty ; for she was so confounded with shame, be- 
cause her husband had seen her naked as she was swimming in 
the river Feil, that she languished, and died with grief. The 
stream received the name of Inbher Feile from this fair Milesian, 
and is so called to this time. Scota and Fias, two other ladies 
of the Gadelians were slain in the battle of Sliabh Mis before 

The wife of Ir, and the wife of Muirtheimhne, the son of Bre- 
ogan, likewise died before the battle of Tailton was fought ; these 
made up the eight ladies of the Milesians who were dead before 
that engagement. The names of seven of them are recorded in 

or IRELAND. 141 

the book of the Conquests of Ireland, and are Scota, Tea, Fial, 
Fias, Liobhra, Oghbha, and Sceine. The same number of prin- 
cipal officers of the Gadelians perished before that action with 
the Tuatha de Danans, whose names are expressed before. An 
old antiquary, in one of his poems, has given us the names of 
seven of these female adventurers, who came into Ireland. 

Seven ladies of the chiefest quality 
Followed the fortunes of the stout Gadelians, 
When they resolved to conquer or to die. 
Tea, the virtuous queen of Heremon ; , ■ 

Fial, the consort of the brave Lughaidh ; 
Fias, a princess of distinguished beauty was, 
And the beloved wife of Un ; and Sceine 
Was wedded to Amergin's princely bed ; 
Liobhradh was the royal pride of Fuaid ; 
Scota, the relict of the great Milesius • 
And Oghbha strictly chaste in widoAS'hood. 

The Gadelians, who were under the command of Hebef, and 
came off with victory at the battle of Sliabh Mis, when they 
had buried their dead, and recovered themselves from the in- 
tigue of the fight, they marched to Inbher Colpa, now caPed 
Drocheda, in the province of Leinster, where they joined a 
strong body of Milesians, with Heremon at the htad of them ; 
with this reinforcement they sent a summons to the three princes 
of the island, the sons of Cearmada, to come to a pitched battle 
at a place appointed, in order to decide the government of the 
country. The Tuatha de Danans accepted of the challenge, and 
advanced with their choicest troops, led on by their three 
princes, and began the fight ; the Milesians received the charge 
with great bravery, and, greedy of revenge for the death of Ith, 
fell desperately upon the enemy, when a most bloody action 
followed. Both sides maintained their ground, and victory was 
in suspense for some time ; but at length the Gadelians broke 
the ranks of the Tuatha de Danans, and occasioned such confu- 
sion among their forces, that they were put to the rout with 
great slaughter, and driven out of the field. The three princes 
of [he country were slain in the engagement ; Mac Greine fell 
in an encounter with Amergin ; Mac Ceacht was killed by 
Heremon, and Mac Cuill was slain by Heber Fionn. This me- 
morable transaction comes to the notice of posterity from the 
following verses of an old poet ; 

The princes of the island kept their court 
AtTailtou: but the bold Gacieliaas "• 


Punished their treachery to the Vcaliaut Itlv •• 
Mac Greine, though fierce in fight, Amergin slew , 
Mac Cuill fell beneath the dreadful sword 
Of Heber ; and Heremon, hand to hand, 
O'erbore Mac Ceacht, and pierced him to the ground. 

In this action were slain likewise the consorts of these three 
princes^ who were Eire, Fodhla, and Banba. The same poet 
gives this account of their death : 

This fatal day the virtuous Eire was slain 
By Siurge ; Fodhla by the sword of Headan 
Fell dead ; and Banba sunk beneath 
The avenging arm of Saicer. . 

The Tuatha de Danans, perceiving the death of their three 
commanders, despaired of victory, and fled in great disorder. 
The Milesians followed their success with great slaughter of the 
enemy, but in the pursuit they lost two of their leading officers, 
Cualgne, the son of Breogan, at Sliabh Cualgne, and Fuaid his 
brother at Sliabh Fuaid : but the Gadelians, no way discou- 
raged, pressed hard upon the vanquished, destroyed numbers of 
them in their flight, and put them to a general rout. The in- 
habitants were never able to recruit their forces, but were 
obliged to submit to the victors, and deliver up the government 
of the island. 

Some of the Irish antiquaries are of opinion, that after tho 
Milesians had obtained this victory, Heber Fionn and Heremon 
divided the country into two parts between them ; the northern 
part, from the river Boyne and Sruibh, fell to the share of 
Heremon, and from thence to the main ocean southwards, came 
to the possession of Heber Fionn. A poet of great antiquity 
makes mention of this division in this manner : 

The two commanders shared the isle between them ; 
The north division Heremon enjoyed 
From the rich vale, where, in delightful streams, 
The Boyne, the darling of the ocean, flows ; 
SouthAvards from thence the royal Heber reigned, 
And his dominion to the sea extended. 

Five of the Milesian officers attended upon Heremon to his 
part of the country, and had lands assigned them for their sup- 
port, where each of them erected a castle upon their ov.u 
estate, and there they resided with their families. The names 
c»f these five commanders were Amergin, the son of Milesius.. 

■ OF II?ELAND. 143 

Goifidean, Seaghda, Sobh-iiroe and Siurge. Heremou also builfc 
a magnificent palace, where he kept his court, at Airgiodross, 
jpon the bank of the river Feoir, in Ossery, and called it Rath 
Beothach ; Amergin raised the castle of Turlagh Inbher More, 
now called Arcloe ; Sobhairce built the fort of Duna Sobhairce ; 
Seaghda erected Dunn Deilguisis in the territory of Cualann ; 
Goisdean built Cahair Nare, and Siurge called his seat by the 
name of Dunn Eadair. 

Some of the principal of the Milesians likewise followed 
Heber Fionn into his division of the country, who generously 
allowed them an hDuourable subsistence, and gave them lands 
fur the support of their families ; their names were Caicer. 
Mantann, Eadan, Vige, and Fulman. Each of these Gadelian 
nobles raised very stately structures upon their own estates ; 
Heber Fionn built a royal palace for himself in Leinster, and 
called it Rath Loamhuin ; Caicer erected the Castle of Dunn 
Inn, in the west of Ireland ; Mantann was the founder of Cumh- 
dach Cairge Bladhruidhe ; Unn the son of Vige built Rath 
Arda Suird, and Fulman built the fort of Cairge Feadha. 

But this division of the island is opposed by some of our an- 
tiquaries of great authority, who assert, that Heber possessed 
Himself of the two provinces of Munster ; the province of Lein- 
ster and Conacht fell to the share of Heremon ; the province 
of Ulster they divided between Eimhir or Heber, the son of Ir, 
the son of Milesius, their brother's son, and some others of the 
principal Gadelians ; and the canthred of Corckaluighe, in the 
county of Cork, in Munster, they assigned to Lughaida, the son 
of Ith. who was treacherously siain by the princes of the coun- 
try, in revenge of whose death the Milesians first engaged in 
this expedition. 

This latter division of the island seems to deserve the great- 
est credit ; because it is certain, that the royal palace of Here- 
mon, called Rath Beothaic, was built at Airgiodross, upon the 
bank of the river Feoir, in Leinster ; and it appears likewise, 
that the posterity of Heber Fionn resided for many years in 
the province of Munster. The descendants of Heremon inha- 
bited in Conacht and Leinster ; and the family of Eimhir or He- 
ber, the son of Milesius, commonly called Clana Rughraidhe, 
Temained for many generations in the province of Ulster, and 
are the original and the most ancient inhabitants of Ulster of 
all the posterity of the Milesians. They were a tribe who kept 
their royal seat at Eamhain, for the space of 900 years, and 
for their valour, their generosity and military exploits, they were 


the glory of ilie Irish oation ; as the most authentic records, 
particulady th§ Psalter of Cashel and the royal Psalter of Tara, 
inform us. They flourished in great honour, and were the re- 
nowned heroes of the western parts of Europe for many ages, 
till, sinking under the weight of their own greatness, they were 
destroyed by intestine quarrels and irreconcileable breaches in 
their families, as will be related hereafter ; by which means the 
royal seat of Eamhaim fell to ruin, and the tribe separated and 
fixed themselves in other provinces of the island. The descen-. 
dants of the brave hero Connall Cearnach removed to Laoighis, 
(in 'English, Lex) in the province of Leinster, and the posterity 
of Eergus Mac Roigh obtained settlements in Conmacne, Co- 
nacht, Careamruadh, and Kerry, in Munster : these families 
were originally derived from the same ancestors, and were called, 
in general, by the name of Clana Paighraidhe. The : same 
changes and divisions happened likewise in other tribes of the 
Milesians, who, by reason of animosities among themselves, se- 
parated from the possessions that were first assigned them ; par- 
ticularly in the family of the Dwyers, or as some write them, 
O Divir, in Irish called Dnibhidhir, descended from Cair- 
bre, the son of Conchorb, who lived four generations before Cav 
tlioir More, monarch of Ireland, of the line of Heremon. The 
same alterations appear likewise in the tribe of the O Ryans, 
who were of the same family, and removed from the province of 
Leinster to Munster, where their posterity remain to this day ; 
but the revolutions that arose in these families, and their re- 
moval from the lands where they .first settled, happened many 
years after Heber and Heremon divided the island as before 

It is evident, that the three Collas, with all their relations and 
dependants, went into Ulster about the year of our Redemption 
130 ; where, by their valour, they dispossessed the former inhabi- 
tants, and fixed themselves. The lands which they obtained in 
this province, were called Modhoirn ui Macuais, and Ui Chriom- 
buin, where some of their posterity remain to this time. Itf 
^•as in the reign of Muireadhach Tireach that they got into the 
enjoyment of these new estates. The noble earl of Antrim, Mao 
Daniel by surname, is descended from Collauais ; and the most- 
illustrious family of the iviac Mahons, in the pro\ince of Ulster, 
tiie Maguires, in Irish, Maguidhir, and the O Hanlauns, with 
several other branches derived from the same stem, were the 
lineal descendants of Colla da Cbrioch, as will be confirmed par- . 
ticiilarly in the progress of tiiLs liistory ,. 


J a the reign of Cormack Mac Airt. a descendant from ths 
posterity of Heremon, called Ueisig, (m Engiisb, Desie,) the <J 
i aolains, the kings of Desie, came mto Munster, and got possen- 
Bion of a great part of the country. And in the reign of Oilioll 
Ollum, king of Munster, the learned (. airbre Muse, a gentleman 
of the line of Heremon, ] resented a most ingenious poem, in 
Irish, to OiLoll Ollum, wherein he celebrated the valour, tue 
generosity, the magnificence aud grandeur of his loyai patron j 
who so graciously accepted the performance, that as a rewa,:d, 
he bestowed upon him the two Urmhumhain, in English, the 
,two Ormonds, but known then by the name oi Muscruidhe, so 
called from Cairbre Muse '^beiore mentioned. These counties 
contained all the canthred from Beaiach mor, in Ossery, to Car- 
rignasuire, now styled Carrig. These were the lauds conferred 
upon th it excellent poe% and not the Muscruicihe, in the county 
of Cork j but they continued only a short time in the possession 
of his issue, lor his family wixs soon extinc. . 

It was not long after this, that some of the post:rity of Heber 
Fionn, descended from Cormac Gaiieangadh, removed out of 
Munster, and settled themselves, and their families, in very 
large estates in Conacht and Leinster. The lands which they 
obtained were called (jaileangadh and Luigne ; and from the 
descendants of this Cormac Gaiieangadh, the noble families of 
O Hara, (in Irish O Headhra,) and of Gara (in Irish Gara) 
are derived. So that it appears by what means these several 
femilies got possession of large tracts of land in the island ; and 
that they did not receive their estates from the donation of Heber 
and Heremon, when they laid out the division of the country. 
And this account is reason sufficient for us to believe, that Heber 
and ileremon did not, after their conquest of Ireland, attempt 
to share the country between tbem in the manner W3 have 
observed before ; because we find that Hiremon built his palace 
within the territories of Heber Fionn, (called Eath Beothach, 
and situated at Airgiodross, in the province of Leiuster,) which 
it is impossible to suppose : but" the last division has the best 
authority to support it, which asserts, thftt Heremon was pos- 
ceFsed of the province of Leinster, where he erecred his royal seat 
Mid kept his court. 

The Milesians brouglit over with them, in the Irish expedi- 
tion, a very skilful musician and an eminent poet ; the name 
of the poet was Cir mac Cis, and the musician was called 
O Naoi. These two persons being very ex:ellent in their prt)- 
fesi^k)n, there was some contest between Keber and TIeremou 



about them : for they were both delighted with their oorapauy, 
and resolved, if possible, to detain them ; but they agreed, at 
length, to decide the dispute by lots, and determine to whom 
they should belong ; by this means the musician fell to Heber, 
and the poet was to attend upon Heremon. From this contro- 
versy, as the chronicles inform us, arose that laudable custo m 
among the Irish, to show great honour and munificence to their 
poets, historians, philosophers, and men of learning ; and the 
musician being to attend upon Heber in the southern part of 
the country, that division of the island is observed to be more 
particularly delighted with music j as an old poet remarks in 
this manner : 

The learaed princes, Heber and Heremon, 

Contended which should, A^ith the poet's art, 

And the musician's skill, be entertained. 

Thej' cast the lots ; the northern prince enjoyed 1^ 

The pleasing charms of poetty ; and Heber 

With music first his southern subjects bless'd. 

From hence the generous Irish, with rewards, 

Did bountifully crown the poet's skill, 

And music flourished in the southern coasts. 

In the Milesian invasion of Ireland there came over twenty 
mechanical persons of several occupations, and a number of 
labouring men, fit only for servile work, whose business was to 
clear the country by cutting down the woods, and to render it 
proper for tillage or pasture ; accordingly these four-and-twenty 
labourers, soon after thei" arrival in the island, laid open twenty- 
four large tracts of land, which by cultivating beca ne fruitful. 
The names of these tradesmen were Aidhne, Ai, A sal, Meidhe, 
Morba, Meide, Cuibh, Cliu, Ceara, Reir, Slan, Leighe, Liife, 
Line, Leighean, Trea, Dula, Adhar, Aire, Deisi, Deala, Fea, 
Femhean, and Seara ; and the plains that were cleared at that 
time are literally known by these names to this day. 

The princess Tea, the daughter of Lughaidh, the son of Ith, 
and the wife of Heremon, the son of Milesius, gave orders for 
erecting a royal palace for herself in Lyatrim, which seat is now 
called Teamhair, from this lady, who was the foundress of it ; 
for Mur signifies a seat or a palace, and Tea being the proper 
name of that princess, by joining the words they sound Tea- 
inhuir, and by another termination in Irish they are pronounced 
Teamhair ; but in construction they are the same, for they both 
eignify the royal seat or palace at Tara. 

The two principal Gadelians, Heber and Heremon, adminis- 


tered the govei'iiment together, with great affection and unani- 
mity, for the space of a year, and then an unfortunate difference 
a'-ose, attended with very fatal consequences. The occasion of 
the dispute was the possession of three of the most fruitful val- 
leys in the whole island ; their names were Druim Clasach, in 
the territory of Maine, Druim Beathach, in Maonmuighe, and 
Druim Finginn, in Munster. Two of these valleys lay in tho 
division of Heber Fionn, and he received the profits of them ; 
but his wife, being a woman of great pride and ambition, en- 
vied the wife of Heremon the enjoyment of one of these delight- 
ful valleys, and therefore she persuaded her husband to demand 
the valley of Heremon, and upon a refusal, to get possession of 
it by the sword ; for she passionately vowed she would never 
be satisfied till she was called the queen of the three most fruit- 
ful valleys in the island. The wife of Heremon, a lady of mas- 
culine spirit, prevailed upon her husband to insist upon his 
title, and to defend his right : and this resolution occasioned a 
war between the two princes, who, by consent, led their whole 
forces to the plains of Geisiol, in Leinster, where a desperate 
battle was fought, in which the eldest brother, Heber Fionn, 
and three of his chief commanding officers, Siurge, Sobhairce, and 
Goisdean were slain. The death of these brave Gadelians, we 
perceive, was wholly owing to the pride of this woman, who, to 
quicken her husband in this unjust undertaking, swore she 
would not sleep a night more in the island till she had accom- 
plished her purpose. This transaction stands thus upon record 
in the verses of an old poet : 

The royal princes, Heber and Heremon, 
With mutual consent, and kind affection. 
The isle divided ; and they reigned in peace, 
Till the ambition of a woman's heart, 
The wife of Heber, urged them on to war 
By pride o'ercome, she thirsted to enjoy, 
And to b^ called queen of the Three Valeo, 
The most delightful lands in all the isle, 
hhe vowed, and, raging passionately, swore, 
That she would never sleep on Irish ground 
Till she was mistress of those fruitful plains. 
A battle followed on Geisiol's fatal field, 
Where Heber Fionn fell a sacrifice 
To the ambition of a haughty wife. 

This relation is confirmed by the concurring testimony of the 
learned Tanuidhe 6 Conairej who has these lines : 


Tliree of the fruitful valleys of tlie isle, 

Druira Fiiigiun, Druim Clasach, aud Dniiai Beathach, 

(Occasioned the fierce bettle of Geisiol, 

VVIiere valiant Heber feU. 

Heremon, after this victory over his brother, the unfortunate 
Heber, succeeded in the whole government, and reigned sole 
monarch of the kingdom of Ireland for tho spaoe of fourteen 
years. There is some difference in the ancient records, concern- 
ing the death of Prince Heber ; for some of our antiquaries 
assert, that he was slain at the battle of Airgiod Ross, as these 
■verses intimate : 

Heremon wns moiiarch of the isle 

Full fourteen vc.irs after the bloody fight 

Of Airgiod Ross, where Keber lost his life. 

But this opinion is contradicted by some authors, of great 
fidelity, who wich good authority deny that Heber was slain at 
the battle of Airgiod Koss, and justly place his death at the 
fight of Geisiol befoi'e mentioned. In the reign of King Here- 
mon the desperate battle of Cuil Caicer was fought, where Caicer, 
one of the principal officers of Heber Fionn, was slain by 
Amergin, the ton of Milesius. This action happened about a 
year after the death of Heber ; and in the year following the 
fight of Caicer, Amergin, the son of Milesius, was killed by his 
brother Heremon, in the battle of Bile Teiniodh, at Cuil Breagh. 

In the same year the nine rivers of Eile broke out, and the 
three streams of Va Nioliiolo, in Ireland, began to flow. In 
the thi "d year following, Mantan and Fulman, two of tiie prin- 
cipal officers of Heber P'ionn, were slain by Heremon, in the 
battle of Breaghuin, in Freamhain. 

During the monarchy of Heremon over the whole island, the 
nine following lakes discovered themselves ; Loch Cime, on 
Magh Sreiug, Loch Buadhaice, Loch Bagha, Loch Rein, Loch 
Fionnmhaighe, Loch Greine, Loch Riach< which spreads its 
waters over all the plain of Magh Maoin, Loch da Choidh, in 
Leinster, aitd Loch Laoigh, in Ulster. Four years afterwards the 
Gadelian commanders, En, Un, aud Eadan, were slain by Here- 
mon, in the fight of Comhraire, in Meath, where they were 
likewise buried. In the same year three rivers broke out in 
Conacht, which were all known by the name of Succa. 

Some of the Irish historians assert, that after Heremon had 
o}>tained the victory over Heber Fionn, he divided the island into 
live prjvinces, among some of his commanding officers. The 


province of Leinster he gave to Criomhthan Sciathbheil of the 
Domhnonchuibh, a gentleman of great worth, and descended 
from the ancient Firbolgs. He bestowed the two provinces of 
Mimster upon Er, Orbha, Fearon, and Feargna, who were the 
sons of Heber Fionn, his brother. The province of Conacht he 
conferred upon Un, the son of Vige, and Eadane, two no tod 
generals, who came along with him out of Spain ; and the pro- 
vince of Ulster he settled upon his other brother's son, whose name 
was Heber or Eimher, the son of Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain. 

In the beginning of the reign of this Irish monarch, the Picts, 
who resided in Thrace, left their own country, and landed with 
a numerous army upon the coasts of Ireland. The reason why 
they quitted their country is thus related by Cormac Mac Cuil- 
lenan, in his Psalter of Cashel. Policornus was king of Thraxie 
at that time, and, being an effeminate prince, he resolved to 
seize by violence upon a beautiful young lady, the daughter of 
Gud, generalissimo over the Picts, and to keep her as a concu- 
bine. This design was seasonably discovered to Gud, who, by 
the assistance of his faithful Picts, who were then in pay under 
the crown of Thrace, found means to destroy Policornus, whom 
they slew, and then fled the country. They marched through 
the dominions of several princes, till they came into France, 
where they were kindly received, and admitted into pay by the 
French king, who assigned them a tract of land for their sup- 
port, where they built a city, and properly c^ave it the name of 
Pictaviam, now called Poictiers. When Gud, the commander of 
the Picts, had related to the king of France the occasion of his 
leaving Thrace, and that his design was to secure the honour of 
his daughter, that prince also resolved to debauch her himself, 
and made some attempts to force her out of her father's hands ; 
who, so soon as he perceived his intention, summoned his peo- 
ple together, and by stratagem seized upon the French shipping, 
^ weighed anchor and stood out to sea ; they came upon the coasta 
of Ireland, and landed at Inbher Slaigne, but the young lady 
unfortunately sickened and died in the voyage. 

The venerable Bede, in the first chapter of his Ecclesiastical 
history of England, agrees with this account, with this differenco 
only, that he says that these wandering Picts landed in the nor- 
thern part of the island. His words are these : * " It happened, 

* Contigit gentem Pictomm de Scythia, ut perhibent, longis navibus non 
muitis oceanum iiigressam, circumagente flatn ventorum fines omnes Britannue 
Hiberniam pervenisse, ejusque septeutrionales oras intrasse, atque inventa iM 
gente Scotonim, sibi quoque in parMbus illis petiise locum, nee iropetrasse potiiisst 


as fame goos, that a nation of the Picts from Soythia, setting to 
sea ill a few long ships, after they had by the varying of the 
wind sailed round the coast of Britain, ciane at last into Ire- 
land, and landed in the northern part of 'the island : there th^y 
found the nation of the Scots, among whom they desired a set- 
tlement, but their request was denied." But one circumstance 
of this relation is a mistake, for they did not land in the north 
of Ireland, but they came on shore in the harbour of Wexford, 
as it is now called. 

At that time Criomhthan Sciathbheil was governor of Lein- 
ster by commission from Heremou, who, as soon as these people 
arrived, received them hospitably, and entered into a gtrict al- 
liance with Gud, and Cathluan, his son, who were the com- 
manders of the Picts ; because he wanted their assistance 
against some mischievous Britons (called Tuatha Fiodhga) who 
spoiled and made great depredations on both sides the river 
Siainge ; and to terrify the Milesian soldiery, they violated the 
law of nations, by poisoning the heads of their arrows and their 
other weapons, which had that effect as to make the least wound 
mortal or incurable. Criomhthan relating this savage practice 
of the Britons to his new associates, they told him there was a 
very eminent druid, who came over with them, that, by his 
skill in physic, knew how to prepare an antidote against the 
poison, and hinder its operation. The name of this druid was 
Trosdane, who, when he was applied to by the Milesian general, 
confessed that he understood a method which would destroy the 
))arbarous designs of the Britons, and expel the venomous qua- 
lity of their weapons ; accordingly he advised him to procure 
150 white-faced cows, and when he had digged a pit near the 
place where he usually fought with the Britons, to empty their 
milk into the hole, and when anv of his soldiers were wounded 
by the enemy, they should immediately go into the pit, and 
bathe themselves in the milk, Tvhich would prove a sovereign 
antidote against the poison and hinder its effect. Criomhthan 
followed the advice of the druid, and when he had made the 
pit near the field of battle, and tilled it with milk, according to 
his directions, he drew up his forces against the" Britons, and a 
most desperate fig; t followed, (called the battle of Cath Arda 
Leamhnachta,) and the Milesians obtained a complete victory ; 
for when any of the Gadcliau soldiery perceived themselves 
wounded, they immediately removed to this bath of milk, where 
they washed, and became perfectly cured. This defeat of the 


Britons, who were called Tuatha Fiodho-a, is tmnymitted to poa- 
teritj, by a very ancient poet of good authority, in these lines . 

The Avandering Picts, after a tedious voyage 
Around the British coasts, at length arrive 
Upon the Irish shore ; where the Gadelians 
Were fighting with the Britona fierce and cruel. 
Who, with envenom 'd arrows, certain death 
Dispensed ; and many a brave Milesian 
Languished with wounds incurable, till relieved 
By a prevailing antidote, prescribed 
By the wise Trosdane, of the Piptish race. 
This learned druid, exquisitely skill 'd 
In poison, did expel the subtle venom 
By a warjn bath of milk, which from the dugs 
Of an hundred and fifty bald-faced cows distilled 
The soldiers here soften'd their rankling wounds. 
And washed, and to the figlit returned unhurt 
Thus were the Britons routed in the field, 
^wl all thei;- ba^-^ai-ous art defeated. 

After this victory over the Britons, Gud, and his son Catn 
laan, who were the leaders of the Picts, formed a conspiracy, 
and resolved to possess themselves of the government of Lein 
scer, and there to settle with their followers. This design wag 
timely discovered to Heremon, the king of Ireland, who imme- 
diately raised an army to suppress these foreigners, and drivo 
them out of the country. But before they came to engage, the 
Picts, unable to resist the Milesian troops, with great humility 
and submission surrendered themselves up to the mercy of the 
king, who with great generosity pardoned them, and withdrew 
his forces, but gave them notice withal, that there was a coun- 
try lying east and by north of Ireland, where they might trans- 
port themselves and obtain a settlement. The Plots imme- 
diately came to a resolution to leave the island ; but first de- 
isired some of the Milesian women to go along with them, upon 
whose issue, they solemnly swore that the government of the 
country, if ever it came into their hands, should devolve, and 
continue for ever in their family. Upon these assurances Here- 
raon complied, and delivered to them three women of quality, 
who were widows ; they were the relicts of Breas, Buas, and 
Buaigne, one of whom Cathluau, the chief commander of the 
Picts, took to himself They immediately set sail, and arrived 
at Cruithantuath, now called Scotland, where Cathluan, the 
Pictish general, obtained the sovereignty of the country, and 
was the fiirst monarch of the Pictish line ; and of this family, 
afier the demise of this prince, there were 70 sacces^ive kiugs 


in Scotland ; as is observed in the following verses, extracted 
from the Psalter of Cashel, out of a poem that begins thus, 
Eolach Alban vile ; 

The Picts, unable to withstand the pow'r 
Of the Milesian troops, a truce implore ; 
And, -willing to be gone, their anchors weigh 'd 
And boldly the Albanian coasts invade, 
Where seventy monarchs of the Pictish race 
With great exploits the Scottish annals grace. 
'Twas Cathluan began the royal line 
Which ended in the hero Constantine. 

The learned Trosdane, who by his art assisted the Gadelians 
in subduing the Britains, and five more of principal note among 
the PictS;, did not follow the fortune of Cathluan in the Scottish 
expedition ; their names were Oilean, Ulpra, Neachtain, Nar, 
and Eneas, and these six that remained in Ireland had estates 
assigned them for their support, in Breagmhuigh, in Meath. 

Heremon, the king of Ireland, after a reign of fourteen years, 
died at Airgiod Ross, in Rath Beothaice, near Feior, and there 
he was buried ; and in the same year the river called Eithne 
broke out, and i)egan to flow, between Dial na Ruidhe and Dial- 

The chronicles of Ireland give an account, that Heremon sent 
away a great number of the posterity of Breogan, that is, the 
Brigantes, and of the Tuatha de Danans, along with the Picts, in 
their invasion of Scotland; and from these descendants of Breogan 
were the Brigantes derived, who afterwards possessed themselves 
of very large settlements in England. Such of this family (called 
in Irish Clana Breogan) as survived the battle of Tailtean, sepa- 
rated, and some of them followed Ileber Fionn into Munster, 
others attended upon Heremon into Conacht and Leinster, and 
part of them went into Ulster with Heber, the son of Ir. These 
Brigantes, some time afterwards, understanding that the Picts, 
and their relations that followed them, had been successful in 
the Scottish invasion, and had wrested the government out of 
the hands of the former inhabitants, a number of them, ani- 
mated with this success, resolved .to transport themselves 
thither, and obtain a settlement in the country ; thither there- 
fore they came, and had lands and estates bestowed upon them 
for their maintenance. But in process of time, they with the 
Picts were driven out of the country, by the prevailing power 
of the Dalriada, and afterwards by P'ergus the Great ; as .will bo 
particularly mentioned in the further progress of this history. 


Some of the Irish chronides assert, that the posterity of Breogan^ 
afterwards called the Brigantes, came into Ireland, Albion, and 
Britain, as they fled out of Spain, to avoid the cruel tyranny of 
the Goths, and the incursions of other hostile nations, who mise- 
rably ravaged that country after the sons of Milesius had left it ; 
BO that we have reason to conjecture, that the Brigantes of Eng- 
land removed thither from Ireland, Albion, and Spain, when 
jhey fixed themselves in some of the counties of that kingdom. 
Upon the decease of Heremon, king of Ireland, the 
„V-.^ crown devolved upon his three sons, Muimhne, Luighne, 

and Laighne ; these princes reigned jointly and peaceably 
for the space of three years, at which time Muimhne died at 
Magh Cruachain, and the remaining brothers, Luighne and 
Laighne, were slain by the sons of Heber Fionn, at the battle of 
Ard Ladhran. 
iynr^ The succession then came into the hands of Er, Orbha, 

Fearon, and Feargna, the four sous of Heber Fionn, who 
governed the kingdom together for one year, and were slain ia 
an engagement by Irial, the son of Heremon. 
o-.p They were succeeded by IriaJ, the son of Heremon, who 

was a learned prince, and could foretell things to come : 
the reason of his entering into war with the sons of Heber Fionn 
was, because they had basely taken away the lives of two of his elder 
brothers, who died without issue, so that the crown came by suc- 
cession to him, and he governed the kingdom ten years. During 
the reign of this monarch, a great part of this country was laid 
open, and freed from woods ; particularly the following places 
were cleared, and made fit for tillage and pasture : their names 
were Magh Eeidchiodh,now called Lex Magh Neilm, in Leinster ; 
Magh Comair, Magh Feile, in Jobh Neiil ; Magh Sanuis, in 
Conacht ; Magh JNinis, in Ulster ; Magh Midhe, Magh LuiL-'ne, 
in Conacht ; Magh Teachta, in Jobh mac Uais ; Magh Fearn- 
muighne, at Oirgialladh ; Magh Cobha, at Jobh Beathach ; Magh 
Cumaoi, at Jobh Neil ; Magh Cuille Feadha, Maoh Riada, Magh 
Nairbhrioch, at Fotharthuathaibh Airbhrioch, in Leinster. This 
prince adorned his country with seven royal palaces, where ho 
kept his court : they were called Rath Ciombaoith, at Nemhuin, 
Rath Coincheada, at Seimhne ; Rath Mothuig, at Deag Carbad ; 
Rath Buirioch, at Sleachtaibh ; Rath Luachat, at Glas Carn ; 
Rath Croicne, at Maghnis ; and Rath Boachoill, at Latharna. 

The year after these seats were erected, the three rivers, called 
the three Finns, in Ulster, broke out and began to flow. The 
lollowing year this prince won four remarkable victories ove? 


his enemies : the first was at the battle of Ard In math, at 
Teabtha, where Stirne, the son of Duibh,* son of JBomhoir, waa 
slain ; the second was at the battle of Teanmhuighe, which he 
fought against a sort of pirates, called Fomhoraicc, and slew 
Kichtghe, the leader of them ; the third was at the battle of 
Loch Muighe, where Lngrot, the son of Moghfeibhis, was slain ; 
and the fourth was at the battle of Cuill Martho, where he 
overcame the four sons of Heber. The second year after this 
victory Irial died, at a place called Magh Muagh, where he waa 
buried. These battles are recorded by an old poet in these 
verses ; 

Trial, the youngest of the royal line, 

Was king of Sliabh Mis, and king of Macha : 

Success attended him whene'er he fought, 

And in four battles he was crowned with victory. 

Eithrial, the son of Irial, son of Heremon succeeded 
^1^^\ in the government, and reigned twenty years as monarch 
^^ of the whole kingdom. This prince was distinguished 

for his es.cellent learning, for he wrote with his own hand the 
history and travels of the Gadelians ; nor was he less remark- 
able for his valour and military accomplishments. In his reign 
seven plains or woods, that covered a great tract of land, were 
cut down : they were called Tean mhagh, in Conacht ; Magh 
Liogat, Magh Bealaig, at Jobh Turatire ; Magh Geisile, at Jobh 
Failge ; Magh Ochtair, in Leinster ; Loch mhagh, in Conacht ; 
and Magh Rath, at Jobh Eachach. After this long reign of 
twenty years this prince was killed by Conmaol, the son of 
Heber Fionn, at the battle of Soirrean, in Leinster. 
^rjc^n Conmaol, the son of Heber Fionn, by this victory 
obtained the crown, and governed the kingdom of Ire- 
land thirty years, and was the first absolute monarch of the 
Heberian line. He was continually engaged in wars with the 
family of Heremon, and fought twenty-five pitched battles 
against them, and came off with victory in all. The names of 
nine of them were as follow : the battle of Ucha, the battle of 
Conucha, the battle of Sliabh Beatha, the battle of Geisille, 
where Palpa, the son of Heremon, was slain ; the battle of Mud- 
huirn, where Samhro, the son of Jonbhotha, was killed ; the 
battle of Lochlein, where Magrot was slain ; the battle of Beirre, 
the battle of Aonach Macha, where Conmaol, a valiant prince, 
lost his life, by the hands of Heber, the son of Tighermhas, of 
the line of Heremon. After the battle he was buried upon the 


80 nth side of Aouach Macha, in a place called Feart Choiimaoll, 
which signifies the grave of Gonmaol ; for the Irish word 
Feart in the English signifies a grave. 

Tighermhas, the son of Follain, son of Eithriall, son of 
o^l'p the learned Irial the prophet, the son of Heremon, suc- 
' ceeded and reigned fifty years. He was continually 
alarmed with the pretensions of the family of Heber Fionn, but 
engaged them in twenty-seven battles, and had always the vic- 
tory. The names of these several actions stand thus upon re- 
cord : the battle of Eille, where Rochorb, the son of Gullain, 
was slain ; the battle of Comair, the battle of Maighe Teacht, 
the battle of Loch Moighe, where Deighiaruo, son of Goill, son 
of Gullain, was killed ; the battle of Caillard, at Moighinis; the 
battle of Cuill Fraochain, the battle of Atguirt. in Seimhne ; 
the battle of Ard Niadh, in Conacht ; the battle of Carn Fear- 
radhoig, where Fearradhoch, son of Kochuirb, son of Gullain. 
was slain ; the battle of Cluain Cuis, in Teabtha ; the battle of 
Comhnuidhe, at Tuath Eabhe ; the battle of Cluain Muireag, in 
the north of Breifne ; the battle of Cuill Faibhair, at Earbus ; 
the seven battles of Luglocht, by Loch Lughach ; the two bat- 
tles -of Cuill, at Airgiod Ross ; and the battle of Reibh, where 
most of the posterity of Heber Fionn were destroyed by the 
forces of Tighermhas. 

The foKowiug year nine streams broke out of the earth, and 
began to flow : their names were Loch Cea, which covered the 
plain of Magh Falchuir ; Loch Nualline, in Conacht ; Loch 
Niarun, Loch Nuair, Loch Saiglean, Loch Gabhair, in Meath 
and Breagmhaigh ; Loch Feabhuil, at Tir Eogain, which drowned 
the whole tract of land called Feabhuil Mac Loduin and Magh 
Fuinsighe, by which names the country it overflowed was called; 
Dubh Loch at Ard Cianachta ; and Loch Dabhuil, in Oirgial- 
ladh. About this time the three black rivers in L-eland disco- 
vered themselves, Fubno, Torruin, and Calluin. 

The first golden mine in this country was found out in the 
reign of this prince. It was discovered near the Liftee, by a 
person called Juchadhan, who had the management of the ore, 
and was very curious in the working of metals. In his time, 
likewise, the colours of blue and green were invented, and the 
people began to be more polite in their habits, and set off theif 
dress with various ornaments. This prince established a law 
through his whole dominions, that the quality of every persoa 
should be known by his garb ; and for a distinction he enacte i, 
that the clotlies of a slave should be of one colour ; the habit of 


a solt^ier he allowed to be of two colours ; he permitted thrf^e 
colours to be the dress of a commanding officer j the apparel of ^ 
gentlemen, who kept hospitable tables for the entertainment of , 
s*"ranger5^ vas to consist of four colours; five colours were 
allowed to the nobility of the country ; the king. and queen and 
the royal family were confined to six colours, and the chrono- 
iogers and persons of eminent learning were indulged the same 

This prince died at Magh Sleachta, and three parts of hia 
subjects, by the judgment of heaven, perished with him the 
same night ; it was upon the eve of the festival of All Saints, 
and he was struck as he was worshipping his idol Crom cruadh, 
the same God that Zoroaster adored in Greece. The Irish anti- 
quaries agree, that Tighermhas was the first that introduced ido- 
latry, and erected Pagan altars in the island, and began to estab- 
lish his religion about 100 years a,fter the Milesians arrived in 
the country. From the adoration paid to this idol, and thei 
kneeling posture of those who worshipped it, the field in Breifne, 
now in the country of Lahaiu, was called Magh Sleachta. After 
the decease of this prjnce, some of our authors are of opinion 
that there was an interregnum, and the country was without a 
king for the space of seven years, and then they placed upon 
the throne of Ireland, Eochaidh Faobharglas, the son of Cou- 
maol ; but this is a mistake, and is contradicted by the regal 
table of the Irish monarchs, which particularly mentions thai 
the successor of Tif^hermhas was Eochaidh Eadgothach, a de- 
scendant of Lughaidh, the son of Ith ; and this account has au- 
thority sufEcient for us to follow. 

Eochaidh Eadgothach, son of Datre, son of Conghal, 
i:Qf,r ^^^ ^f Eadamhuin. son of Mail, son of Lughaidh, son of 
^' Ith, son o^reogan, succeeded Tighermhas in the throne 
of Ireiand. His reign continued four years, and then he was 
glain by Cearmna, of the line of Ir, son of Mileaius. 
no-r Cearmna and Sobhairce, two brothers of the sons of 

" ' Eibhric, son of Eibher, son of Heber, son of Ir, son of 
Milesius, succeeded, and reigned joint monarchs of Ireland 
forty years. These were the first Irish princes that came out 
tf Ulster, and were of the line of Ir. They agreed to divide 
the kingdom between them ; and the boundary between each 
division extended from Inbher Colpa, now called Drocheda, to 
IJmerick, in Munster. The north part of the country was pos- 
Eo?;!-jed by Sobhairce, who erected a magnificent palace in his 
O' i; share, and called it Dunn Sobhairce. His brother, Ceai-mua 


was prince of the southern division, in which he likewise bnilt a 
royal seat, where he kept his court, and gave it the name of 
Dunn Cearmna ; it is now called Dunn Patrick, and is situated 
in Courcie's country. Sobhairce was killed by Eochaidh Mean, 
and Cearmna was slain in the battle of Duna Cearmna, by 
Eochaidh Faobharglas^ a prince of the family of Heber Fionn. 

Eochaidh Faobharglas, son of Conmaol, son of Heber 
^Q.^ Fionn, son of Milesius, obtained the crown, and sat upon 
* the Irish throne 20 years. He was distinguished by the 
name of Eochaidh Faobharglas, because the two javelins he 
used in the wars were green and sharp-edged, and he wore a 
sword of the same colour ; for the word Glas signifies green, and 
Facbhar signifies sharp-edged, and these two epithets being 
joired sound Faobharglas. This prince \ms the first of the 
Milesian kings that, by his arms, reduced a part of Albain, or 
Scotland, to become tributary to the crown of Ireland ; for the 
Plots, who settled themselves in that country, notwithstanding 
they bound themselves with solemn oaths to pay homage to the 
king of Ireland, broke out into frequent rebellions, since the 
time of Heremon, and gave great disturbance to the Irish go- 
vernment. This prince was annoyed by the posterity of Here- 
mon, against whom he fought the following battles, and came 
off with success : the battle of Luachair Deaghadh, in Desmond ; 
the battle of Fosuighe da Ghort, the battle at the meeting of 
the three streams, the battle of Tuam Dreogan, at Breifne, and 
the brittle of Drom Liathain. He laid open the country by 
cutting down seven great woods, which were known by the 
names of Magh Smearthuin, in I've Failge ; Magh Laoighin, 
Magh Luirg, in Conacht : Magh Leamhna, Magh Manair, Magh 
Fubna, and Magh da Ghabhol, at Oirgialladh. Eochaidh was 
at length killed by Fiachadh Labhruine, who was descended 
from Heremon, at the battle of Corman, 

2930 Fiachadh Labhruine, son of Smiorgioill, son of 
Eanbothadh, son of Tighermhas son of Follain, sou of 
Eithrial, son of Irialfaidh, son of Heremon, succeeded and 
reigned monarch of Ireland twenty-four years ; though somo 
of our antiquaries assert that he reigned twenty-seven years. 
The reason why he was distinguished by the name of Fiachadh 
Labhruine was, because in the time of this prince the stream 
of Inbher Labhruine began to flow. There likewise broke out, 
daring his government, the rivers Inbher Fleisge and Inbher 
Maige ; as did the lake called I^och Eirue, which overflowed & 



great traot of land that was known by the name of Magh ^ 
beanuinn. • ,1 

This Irish monarch had a son, called Aongus Ollbhuagach, j 
who was a prince of great courage and singular conduct, and 
engaged the Scottish Picts, and the old Britons that inhabited \ 
that country, and defeated them in every action. The effect i 
of his victories was an entire conquest of the country, and a 
reduction of that warlike people, the Scots, as well as the Picts, 
to pay homage to the crown of Ireland. For though the Picts 
had, from the time of Heremon, been tributaries to the Irish 
for the space of 230 years after the Milesians first possessed 
themselves of the island, yet the Scots never owned themselves 
under subjection till they were conquered by Aongus Ollbhua- 
gach, who compelled the whole kmgdom of Scotland to obe- 
dience, and forced the inhabitants to pay a yearly tribute. 

Fiacha.lh Labhruine king of Ireland, engaged the family of 
Heber Fionn in four battles : th'ey were called the battle of 
Fairge, the battle of Galluig, the battle of Claire, and the 
battle of Bealgadain, in which action he fell by the hands of 
Eoohaidh Mumho, the son of Mofeibhis. 

Eochaidh Mumho, the son of Mofeibhis, son of Eochaidh . 
^^^] Faobharglas, son of Conmaol, son of Heber Fionn, son of 
MilesiiTS, sat next upon the Irish throne. His reign con- 
tinued twenty-two years, andhe was slain by Aongus Ollmuchach, 
at the battle of Cliach. 

^„„„ Aongus Ollmuchach succeeded. This king was the 
son of Fiachadh Labhruine, son of Smiorgoill, son of Irial 
faidh, son of Heremon, son of Milesius. He reigned eighteen 
vears, though some antiquaries assert that he governed twenty- 
one years. The reason why he was called Ollmuchach was, be- 
cause he was famous for having a breed of swine of a much 
larger size than any in Ireland ; for the Irish words Oil and Muca 
Bignify great swine, which gave occasion to his name of QHmu-. 
chach. He was a valiant and warlike prince, and fought the 
following battles ; the battle of Cleire, the battle of Siiabh Cao- 
lite, where Baibcion was slain ; the battle of Moigein Cgiath, in 
Conacht, the battle of Glaise Fraochain, where Fraochan Faidh 
was killed ; and he fought thirty battles against the Picts, the 
Firbolgs, and the inhabicants of the Orcades. 

In the reign of this prince three lakes began to flow j Loch 
Einbheithe Anoirghiallaibh, Loch Failcheadain, and Loch Gasain, 
at Muigh Luirg ; and by his industry the following plains were 
laid open, and cleared of wood, MaghGlinne Dearcon, in Cineal 


Conuill ; Magh Nionsglach, in Leinster ; Magh Cuille Gaol, iu 
Boguijie ; Aolmagh, at Callroighe ; Magh Mucraine, in Couacht ; 
Magh Luachradh Deaghadh, and Magh Archuill, in Kerry Cuach- 
radh. Aongus was at length slaiia by Eana, son of Neachton, 
a person of authority in Munster ; though 1 am rather induced 
to^ believe he was killed by Eana Firtheach, in the battle of Car- 
man, because not only the histories which treat of th& kings of 
Ireland assert the same, but the poems, which are of great au- 
thority, and begin with these words, Aongus Ollmuchaoh adbath, 
are likewise an undeniable evidence of this opinion. 

Eadna Airgtheach, the son of Eochaidh Mumho, son 
ooQQ of Modh Feibhis, son of Eochaidh Faobharglas, son of 
Conmaol, son of Heber Fionu, son of Milesius, succeeded, 
and reigned monarch of Ireland twenty-seven years. This prince 
took care to reward the courage of his soldiery ; and to incite 
their bravery he ordered a number of silver shields and targets 
to be made, which he bestowed among the most valiant and Re- 
serving of the Irish militia, without partiality or affection, and 
regarded nothing in the distribution but merit and military ex- 
perience. He was unfortunately killed by Kotheachta, son of 
Maoin, son of Aongus Ollmuchach, in the battle of Raighne. 
o-^r,^ Rotheachta after him enjoyed the crown. He was the 
'^ son of Maoin, son of Aongus Ollmuchach, son of Fiachadh 

Labhruine, son of Smiorgoill, son of Eanbotha, son of Ti- 
ghermhas, son of Foilain, son of Eithriall, son of Irialfaidh, son 
of Heremon ; he governed the kingdorn twenty-five years, and 
vas slain by Seadhna, son of Artri, at Rath Cuachain. 
o/N i r Seadhna, was the next monarch of Ireland : this prince 
' * was the son of Artri, son of Eibhric, son of Eibher or 
Heber, son of Ir, son of Milesius, king of Spain ; he unhappily 
fell by the hands of his own son, when the Dubloingois, that is^ 
the pirates, came to Cruachan, after a reign of five years. 
nr^xf) Fiachadh Fionnsgothach, the son of Seadhna, son of 
Artri, son of Eibhric, son of Heber, son of Ir, son of Mile- 
sius, succeeded, and governed the kingdom twenty years. The 
reason why he was called Fiachadh Fionnsgothach was, because 
in his reign it was observed that there grew abundance of white 
flowers, which the inhabitants squeezed into cups, and used the 
juice for drink, which was likewise very medicinal in many dis- 
tempers j for the word Sgoth signifies a flower, and Fionn signi- 
fies white, which being joined, is pronounced Fionnsgothach 
This prince was killed by Muinheamhoin, the son of Cas Clo- 


Muinheamhoin obtained the government : he was tho 
•^070 ^^^ of Cas Clothach, son of Firarda, son of Kotheachta, soix 
* of Kosa, son of Glas, son of Nuaghatt, son of Eochaidh 
Faobharglas, son of Conmaol, son of Heber Fionu, son of Miiesius. 
king of Spain, and reigned five j^ears. This prince ordained, that 
the gentlemen of Ireland should wear a chain about their necks. 
as a badge of their quality, and to distinguish them from the 
populace : he also commanded several helmets to be made, with 
the neck and forepieces all of gold ; these he designed as a re- 
ward for his soldiers, and bestowed them upon the most deser- 
ving of his army. He died of the plague at Magh Aidne. 
on^K Aildergoidh, the son of Muinheamhoin, son of Gas Clo- 
thach, son of Firarda, son of Rotheachta, son of Eosa, soa 
of Glas, son of Nuaghatt, son of Eochaidh Faobharglas, son 
of Conmaol, son of Heber Fionn, son of Miiesius, king of Spain, 
succeeded, and reigned seven years ; he was the first prince 
that introduced the wearing of gold rings in Ireland, which he 
bestowed upon persons of merit, that excelled in the knowledge 
of the arts and sciences, or were any other way particularly ac- 
complished. He was at length killed by Ollamh Fodhla, in the 
battle of Ceamhair, or Tara. 

oQoo Ollamh Fodhla was his successor in the throne : he 
.* was the son of Fiachadh Fionnsgothach, son of Seadhna, 
Bon pf Artri, son of Eibhric, son of Heber, son of Ir, son of Miie- 
sius, king of Spain, and his reign continued thirty years. This 
prince was possessed of many excellent qualities, which gave oc- 
casion to his name : for Ollamh signifies a person that excels iu 
wisdom and learning, and Fodhla was ^ the name of the island, 
and the character by which this monarch is distinguished in the 
Irish chronicles, justly merited that denomination; for he was cer- 
tainly a prince of the most comprehensive knowledge, and of the 
strictest virtue, that ever sat upon the Irish throne. He instituted 
the most useful laws for the government and the advantage of 
his people, and was so indefatigable in his studies, that he under- 
took to transmit to posterity, in a very correct history, the seve- 
ral travels, voyages, adventures, wars, and other memorable 
transactions of all his royal ancestors, from Feniusa Farsa, the 
king of Scythia, to his own times j and in order to purge and 
digest the records of this kingdom, he summoned his princiiDal 
nobility, his druids, the poets, and historiographers, to meet him 
in a full assembly at Tara, once in every three years, to revise 
the body of the established laws, and to change or correct them 
as the exigence of aflairs required. In testimony of this, 1 shall 

OF IRELAi^rD. 161 

produce the following verses of great antiquity, and to by fuund 
in writings of good authority ; 

The learned Ollamh Fcdhla fii'st ordained 
The great assembly, where the nobles met, 
And priests, and poets, and philosophers, 
To make iiew laws, and to correct the old, 
And to advance the honour of his country. 

Thih illustrious assembly was called by the name of Feis 
FeamhiTich, which signifies a general meeting of the nobility, 
gentry, p:*iests, historians, and men of learning, and distinguished 
by their ftbilities in all arts and professions : they met by a 
royal summons, in a parliamentary manner, once every ihree 
} -'ar.«^i at die palace of Tara, to debate upon the most impor- 
tant Concerns of state ; where they enacted new laws, and re- 
pealed such as were useless and burthensome to the subject, and 
consulted nothing but the public benefit in all their resolutions. 
In this assembly the ancient records and chronicles of the island 
were perused and examined, and if any falsehoods were de- 
tected they were instantly erased, that posterity might not be 
imposed upon by false history ; and the author, who had the 
insolence to abuse the world by his relation, either by per- 
verting matters of fact, and representing them in improper 
colours, or by fancies and inventions of his own, was solemnly 
degraded from the honour of sitting in that assembly, and was 
dismissed with a mark of infamy upon him : his works like- 
wise were destroyed, as unworthy of credit, and were not to be 
admitted into the archives, or received among the records of 
the kingdom. Nor was this emulsion the whole of his punish- 
ment, for he was liable to a fine, or imprisonment, or what- 
ever sentence the justice of the parliame:it thought proper to 
inflict. By these methods, either out of scandal or disgi'ace, 
or of losing their estates, their pensions and endowments, and 
of sulTeriug some corporal correction, the historians of those 
ages were induced to be very exact in their relations, and to 
transmit nothing to after-times, but what had passed this 
solemn test and examination, and was recommended by the 
sanction and authority of this learned assembly. 

In this parliament of Tara, that wise prince Ollamh Fodhia 
ordained, that a distinction should be observed between the 
Eobility, the gentry, and other members of the assembly : and 
that every person should take his place according to his qua- 
litv, his office^ and his merit. He made verj strict and whole 


some laws for the government of his subjects, and particularly 
expressed his severity against the ravishment of women, which, 
it seems, was a piece of gallantry and a common vice in those 
days, for the offender was to suffer death without mercy ; and 
the king thought fit to give up so much of his prerogative, as to 
put it out of his power either to extend his pardon, or even to 
reprieve the criminal. It was a la\^, likewise, that whoever 
presumed to strike or assault a member of the parliament during 
the time of the sessions, or give him any disturbance in the exe- 
cution of his ofhce, either by attempting to rob him, or by any 
other violence, he was condemned to die, without any possibi- 
lity, by bribes, by partiality, or affection, to save his life, or es- 
cape the sentence. 

The members of this triennial convei^tion usually met toge- 
ther, though not in a parliamentary way, six dayrf before the be- 
ginning of the session ; that is, three days before the festival 
of All Saints, and three days after, which time they employed 
in mutual returns of friendship and civility, and paying their 
compliments one to another. A poet of great authority, and 
very ancient, has given the following account of this assembly. 

Once in tliree years, the convention sat, 
And for the public happiness debate ; 
The khig was seated on a royal throne, 
And in his face majestic greatness shone. 
A monarch for heroic deeds designed : 
For noble acts become a noble mind : 
About him summon'd, by his strict command, 
The peers, the priests, and commons of the land, 
In princely state and solemn order stand ; 
'J'he poets likewise are imiulg'd a place, 
And men of learning tne assembly grace. 
Here ev'ry member dares the truth assert. 
He scorns the false, and double-deahng part : 
. For a true patriot's soul disdains the trimmer's art. 
Here love and union, ev'ry look confess 'd. 
And joy and friendship beat in every breast. 
Justice by nothing biass'd or inclin'd, 
Is deaf to pity, to temptation blmd : 
For here with stern and steady rule she swayR, 
And flagrant crimes with certain vengeance pays 
The monarch ever jealous of his state, 
Inflexibly decrees th' ofl^nder's fate, 
Tho' just, yet so indulgently severe, 
^ Like Heav'n, he pities those he cannot spare. 

The place appointed for the meeting of this assembly, was a 
convenient room in the palace of Tara ; the apartment was very 


long, but narrow, with a table fixed Id the middle, and seats 
on both sides, At the end of this table, and between the seats 
raid the wall, there was a proper distance allowed, for the ser- 
Aants and attendants that belonged to the menabers, to go be- 
tween and wait upon their masters. 

In this great hall this triennial parliament assembled ; but 
before they entered upon public business, they were entertained 
with a magnificent feaet, and the order wherein every member 
took his place was in this manner. When the dinner was upon 
the table, and the room perfectly cleared of all persons, except 
tlie grand marshal, the principal herald, and a trumpeter, whose 
offices required they sholud be within, the trumpeter sounded 
thrice, observing a proper distance between every blast, which was 
t.'ie solemn summons for the members to enter. At the first 
sound all the shield-bearers, that belonged to the princes and the 
chief of the nobility, came to the door, and there delivered their 
shields to the grand marshal, who, by the direction of the king 
at arms, hung them up in their due places upon the wall on the 
right side of the long table, where the princes and nobility of 
the greatest quality had their seats. When ho blew the second 
blast, the target-bearers, that attended upon the generals and 
commanding officers of the army and of the militia of the king 
dom, advanced to the door, and delivered their targets in the 
same manner, which were hung in their proper order upon the 
other side of the table. Upon the third summons the princes, 
the nobility, the generals, the officers and principal gentry of 
the kingdom entered the hall, and took their places, each under 
his own shield or target, which were easily distinguished by 
the coat of .arms that was curiously blazoned upon the outside 
of them ; and thus the whole assembly were seated regularly 
without any dispute about precedency or the least disorder No 
person was admitted beside the attendants that waited, who 
stood on the outside of the table. One end of the table w s 
appointed for the antiquaries and the historians, who understood 
and were perfectly skilled in the records and ancient monuments 
of the kingdom ; the other end was filled by the chief officers 
of the court : and care was particularly taken, that their debates 
should be kept secret, for which reason no woman was ever to bo 
admitted. i 

When dinner was ended, and every thing removed, they or- 
dered the antiquities of the kingdom to be brought before them, 
and read them over, and examined them strictly, lest any false- 
hoods or interpolations should have crept in ; and if they found 


any mistakes or false representations of facts, occasioned eit^^er- 
by the prejudice or the ignorance of the historians, they wer« 
scratched out, after they had been censured by a select cominit- 
tee of the greatest learning, appointed to' inspect into those olc 
records. The histories and relations that were surveyed am 
found true and perfect, were ordered to be transcribed, after thoj 
had passed the approbation of the assembly, and inserted in the au- 
thentic chronicles that were always preserved in the king's palace,^ 
and the book wherein they were written was called the Psalter of 
Tara. This ancient record is an invaluable treasure, and a 
most faithful. collection of the Irish antiquities; and whatever 
account is delivered in any other writings repugnant to this, 
is to be esteemed of no authority, and a direct imposition upon 

In this solemn manner did the Milesians, a learned and gene- 
rous people, preserve from the most early times the monuments 
of every memorable transaction that deserved to be transmitted 
to the world ; and in the interval between every session of this 
triennial parliament, not only the professed antiquaries, but the 
gentry, and persons of abilities in all professions and capacities, 
did with all diligence and fidelity collect what was worthy to be 
observed in their several distHcts and provinces, and laid their 
remarks before the next assembly, to be examined ; and, if they 
were approved, to be transcribed in the royal records for the 
henefit and information of their descendants. If the same care 
had been taken by other nations, we should not see so many fabu- 
lous histories abroad that are founded upon no authority, but 
supported only by the effrontery of the relaters ; but this me- 
thod it seems was peculiar to the . ancient Irish, whose policy 
and civil government have been the wonder, and ought to have 
been the example and standard of after ages. And this form of 
assembling, and bringing their antiquities to a public scrutiny, 
was followed till the time of St. Patrick, and continued with some 
alterations, but rather with more care and exactness than to any 
disadvantage, as will be observed in the course of this history 
in its proper place. 

I am obliged to mention it as the singular glory of the Irish 
nation, that their Milesian ancestors had so great a veneration, 
and valued themselves so much upon the nobility of their ex- 
tract, that they preserved their pedigrees and genealogies with 
the strictest care ; and it is evident, that in former times there 
were above 200 principal annalists and historians in the king- 
dom, who liad a handsome revenue, and a large estate in laud 

OF lELA^D. 165 

as&igned them, to support themselves in the study of heraldry 
and chronology, and to gain a perfect knowledge in those useful 
professions. Every nobleman of any quality retained a num- 
ber of these learned men, on purpose to record tl^ actions of 
himself and his family, and to transmit them to posterity, be- 
sides such as were in constant pay and attendance for the ser- 
vice of the public. But these private antiquaries had no liberty 
of themselves to enter any thing upon record, unless it had been 
first approved by the great triennial assembly, whose confir- 
mation gave authority to all the private as well as the public 
records of the kingdom. The same generosity and encourage- 
ment was likewise extended to men of learning in other profes- 
sions ; the physicians, the poets, and harp-players, had estates 
settled upon them, that they might not be disturbed by cares 
and worldly troubles in the prosecution of their studies : and 
they lived without depen dance, and were obliged to no service, 
but to employ themselves for the use of their noble patrons that 
retained them. In the time of war, or any other public cala- 
mities, thsT were bound to no military attendance or contribu- 
tions ; their persons were inviolable, and it was the greatest of 
crimes to kill them, and esteemed sacrilege, whatever distress 
the public were in, to seize upon their estates, so that they were 
never molested in improving themselves in their several profes- 
sions ; every one followed his proper study under these noble 
encouragements, which were never wanting when merit and in- 
dustry were to be rewarded. And when an eminent antiquary, 
a physician, a poet, or harp-player died, his eldest son was not to 
succeed him, either in his estate or his salary, unless he was the 
most accomplished of the family in that profession ; for his suc- 
cessor in his office and the fortune he enjoyed, was to be the 
most learned and expert of that tribe he belonged to ; which was 
the occasion that every person in the family studied to perfect 
himself in the knowledge of that art or science to which he pro- 
posed to succeed in, in order to obtain the revenue and honour 
that belonged to it. And this emulation, supported by such en- 
couragements, advanced all the branches of learningto such a char- 
acter in the kingdom, that it became the centre of knowledge, and 
polite and generous education, and was so esteemed by all the 
neighbouring nations, especially in the western part of the world; 
us appears evidently by the general testimony of foreign as well as 
domestic writers, who have undertaken to treat of the affairs of 
this kingdom. 

The military discipline in use among the Milesians, is dift'er- 


eiitly related by the Irish authors ; but they all agree in this, that 
in the forming of their armies, and giving battle to their ene- 
mies, they observed an exact regularity, and knew well how to 
improve aU advantages. The common' soldiers were always 
perfect in their exercise, and advanced to fight with great bra- 
very, and in close order. Every company was four or eight 
deep, according to the number of men they had, and the con- 
veniency and disposition of the ground they were to engage upon. 
It was death without mercy, by the military law, for a' soldier 
to retreat a foot of ground, but he was still to advance boldly 
forward, if not countermadded by the commanding officer. 
They had always a general appointed over the whole army, whose 
orders were absolute, and to be obeyed by all inferior officers 
without dispute or appeal. Every lower officer had his coat oi 
arms blazoned curiously upon his banner, that he might be dis- 
tinguished, and either rewarded for his courage, or punished 
for his cowardice, in the time of battle. They were always at- 
tended in their marches, and when they were engaged, by their 
antiquaries and annalists, who were employed to take notice 
of the behaviour of every officer ; and when they found a com- 
mander who had signally distinguished himself against the enemy, 
his name and his exploit was immediately entered into the re- 
cords of the family he belonged to, and transmitted down from 
father to son, in order to inspire the several branches of that 
tribe with emulation and courage, and spur them forward into 
R,n imitation of that great example ; and this transaction wa? 
not only recorded in the private history of the family, but an 
exact copy of it was to be laid before the next triennial assembly, 
and upon approbation to be inserted in the royal records of 
the kingdom. This monarch likewise, for the encouragement of 
learning, made a law, that the dignity of an antiquary, a physi- 
cian, a poet, and a harp-player, should not be conferred but upon 
persons descended from the most illustrious families in the 
whole country. 

Having observed that the princes, the nobility, and the gen- 
t;ry of the Milesians made use of coats of arms, as badges and 
distinctions of their quality, it will be useful, I am persuaded, 
as well as entertaining, to take notice from writers of the best 
authority, of the original of this practice, and by what ^means 
it was first introduced among them. 

It must be understood, therefore, that the Israelites, bein^ 
oppressed by the tyranny and persecution of the Egyptian.-^, 
resolved, under the conduct of Moses, to free them^ei^es froii* 

that cruel bondage ; and accordingly the twelve tribes assembled 
together, under the command of that ^great officer, who designed 
to deliver them from slavery, and lead them out of that bar- 
barous country. In this expedition every tribe had» a banner, 
and a certain device or a coat of arms distinctly biazoned upon 
it. In their march they came to Capacirunt, where Niul, the 
father of Gadelas, resided with his people, near the borders of the 
Red Sea, through which, by an Almignty power, a way was 
w^onderfully opened, and the whole nation of the Hebrers 
passed through, as we have before related. 

In process of time it happened, that Sru, a great-grandson of 
Niul, was banished out of Egypt by the prince who then 
reigned, with his whole family and descendants ; and as he con- 
ducted his people out of the country, he followed the example 
of the Israelites, and, in imitation, had a banner, with a dead 
serpent and the rod of M >ses painted upon it for a coat of arms ; 
and \ie made a choice of this device, for this reason particularly, 
because Gadelas, who was his grandfather, was bi": by a serpent, 
and the wound was cured by Moses, who laid his wonder-work- 
ing rod upon it, and saved his life. From this example the 
posterity of Sru always made use of banners and coats of arms, 
as an honourable distinction of their families ; and this account 
is confirmed by the annals of Leath Cuin, which is supported 
by the additional testimony of the book called Leabhar Leatha 
Cuin, in this manner. Tiie aithor, treating upon this subject, 
gives this account of the coats of arms of the twelve tribes : the 
tribe of Reuben had a mandrake painted upon their banners ; 
Simeon, a spear ; Levi, the ark ; Judah, a lion ; Issachar, an 
ass ; Zebulun, a ship ; Naphthali, a deer j Gad, a lioness ; Jo- 
seph, a bull ; Benjamin, a wolf ; Dan, a serpent ; and Asher, a 
branch of a vine. 

Our Irish annals are very particular in accounting for the 
arms and devices borne by several eminent persons, and the 
most flourishing nations. They inform us, that Hector, the 
Trojan hero, bore sable two lions combatant, Or ; that Osiris 
bore a sceptre royal ensigned on the top with an eye ; Hercules 
Dore a lion rampant, holding a battle-axe ; the arms of the king- 
dom of Macedon were a wolf ; Anubis bore a dog ; the Scy- 
thians, who remained in the country and made no conquests 
abroad as the Gadelians did, bore a thunder-bolt ; the Egyp- 
tians bore an ox; the Phrygians, a , swine; the Thracians 
painted the god Mars upon their banners ; the Romans, au 
eagle ; and the Per^sians, bows and arrows ; the old poet, Honker 


jpslatea, that several curious devices were raised upon the shield 
of Achilles, such as the motious of the sun and moon, the stars 
and planets, a sphere with the celestial bodies, the situation of 
the earth, the ebl)inpj and flowing of the sea, with other uncom- 
mon decorations and ornaments that rendered it beautiful and 
surprising.' Alexander the Great bore a lion rampant, and or< 
dered his soldiers to display the same arms upon their shields, 
as a distinsjjuishing mark of their valour and military achieve- 
ments ; Ulysses bore a dolphin and the giant Typhon belching 
out flames of fire ; the arms of Perseus was a Medusa's head ; 
Antiochus chose a lion and a white wand for his ; Theseus bore 
an ox, and SqIcucus, a bull ; Augustus Taesar bore the image of 
the great Alexander ; sometimes he laid that aside, and used 
the sign Capricorn : at other times he blazoned a globe, or the 
helm of a sliip, supported commonly by an anchor and dolphin. 
Simon, the high priest of the Jews, dressed himself in his ponti- 
fical robes, which were very splendid, and set off with variouq 
ornaments and representations, when he went out of Jerusalem 
to meet the victorious Alexnnder, who resolved to level the city 
Avith the ground ; and, by the curiosity and solemnity of his 
habit, he overawed that invincible conqueror, and suppressed 
his designs. In the same manner almost, Pope Leo adorned 
himself, and mollified the anger of Attila, that warlike Scythian, 
who threatened to sack the city of Kome ; and Pope Benedict 
used the same method to prevail upon Totilus, a vajianfc Groth, 
to withdraw his forces out of Italy. 

There was a custom likewise in use avSJong warriors of old, to 
adorn their helmets with a crest, tliat i'(er|)resented some savage 
beast, or fierce bird of prey ; by these figures to distinguish 
themselves in the field of battle, to- impress a dread and terror 
upon their enemies, and to encourage, and with a nobler air U 
lead their own troops, and engage them to fight. Nor wera 
these representations and devices confined only to set off the 
shields and helmets of the ancient heroes, but they were at 
length used to adorn the prows of ships and smaller vessels ; 
such figures were from very ancient times introduced to beau- 
tify and grace their fore-decks, and besides the ornament they 
gave, they served to distinguish one ship from another ; and this 
wo have authority to believe, from the testimony of the holy 
penman, who, in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Acts of the 
Apostles, particularly mentions, that the ship wherein St. Paul 
was to be conveyed to Rome, was distinguished by the sign of 
Castor and PoHuit. 


Now to show the insufferable partiality of the English writers, 
I am obliged to take notice, that these undur-workmen in history 
never take upon them to deny the use of banners with coats of 
arms, among the Hebrews, the Creeks, the Romans, and other 
nations ; but the Gadelians and the old Irish, it seems, have no 
claim to this honorary privilege. Every account tf^at is given 
of this ancient and worthy people, they esteem fabulous ; and 
they would, if their arguments and integrity were equal to their 
malice, erase the very name of a Gadelian out of all lecords, and 
destroy the memory of them among men. But notwithstanding 
the feeble efforts of these little authors, we have the testimony 
of the best historians, to prove that the Cadelians were a family 
as illustrious, and made as early a figure in the chronicles of the 
world, as any tribe in the universe ; and as an unquestionable 
evidence upon this subject, they preserved their own monuments 
and records with the strictest care, and faithfully delivered them 
to posterity ; and therefore prejudice and ignorance are the only 
inducements that could prevail upon the English writers who 
pretend to treat of Irish affairs, to deduce their accounts of Ire- 
land fi'om no higher a period than the reign of William the Con- 
queror ; and because the histories of their own country cannot bo 
traced with any tolerable authority farther than the time of that 
prince, therefore it must needs follow, that the Irish annals are of 
the same modern date, and every chronicle beyond that point of 
time must be a fable and romance. How conclusive this argr- 
ment is, any unprejudiced person will easily determine. How- 
ever this is certain, that the old chronicles of England were de- 
Btroyed by the victorioufii Romans, Goths, Saxons, Germans, 
Normans and other forcigitiprs, who made a conquest of the king- 
dom ; but the Irish records were kept sacred, and were never ia 
the hands of any invading enemy, nor was the island ever abso- 
lutely subdued, so as to be under a foreign yoke, from the first 
arrival of the Milesians unto this day. 

It is therefore certain, that the Milesians, from the time they 
first conquered the island, down to the reign of Ollamh Fodhla, 
made use of n other arms of distinction, in their banners, than 
a dead serpent and the rod of Moses, after the example of their 
Gadelian ancestors. But in this great triennial assembly at Tara, 
it was ordained by a law, that every nobleman and great officer 
5;hould, by the learned heralds, have a particular coat of arms 
yf^ffigned him according to his merit and his quality, whereby 
he' should be distinguished from others of t\\o same rank, and 
be known to any antiquary or person of learning; wherever he 


appeared, whether at sea or land, in the prince's court, at the 
place of his own residence, or in the field of battle. ' Upon the 
death of this great monarch, the crown devolved by an hereditary- 
right upon his son. 

Fionnachta succeeded in the government of Ireland. 
„ ' o He was the son of Ollamh Fodhla, son of Fiachadh Fionns- 
gothach, son of Seadhna, son of Artri, son of Eibhric, son 
Heber, son of Ir, son of Milesius, king of Spain. His reign conti- 
nued 15 years, though some authors assert that he filled the throne 
20 years. The reasoi^ why he was distinguished by this name was, 
because abundance of snow fell upon the island in his reign, and 
for a long time covered the whole country. There is an account, 
but of no manner of authority, that wKen this snow came to thaw 
and dissolve it turned into natural and perfect wine. This is 
certainly a fiction, for though the wOrd Fion in the Irish signi- 
fies wine, yet by adding another N to it, and spelling it thus, 
Fionn, which is the first syllable of this prince's name, it signi- 
fies white j the following word Acta, or Sneacta, is the genuine 
Irish for snow, and these words, when they are joined, are pro- 
nounced Fionnachta, not Fionachta ; so that by observing the 
proper spelling of this name, the writers of the best credit are 
induced to believe that this monarch obtained his name from the 
great quantity of snow that fell in his time ; and reject, as idle 
and fictitious, the other opinion, which asserts that he was so 
called, because the snow when it dissolved became true wine. 
This prince died at Magh Inis, and there was buried. 
0-, oo Slanoll was his successor. He was another son of 01- 

* lamh Fodhla, son of Fiachadh Fionnsgothach, son of 
Seadhna, son of Artri, son of Eibhric, son of Heber, son of Ir, 
son of Milesius, and he wore the crown of Ireland fifteen years. 
The reason why he was distinguished by the name of Slanoll 
was, because the people of the country enjoyed so perfect a state 
of health, that very few or none of them fell sick, or died of any 
malignant distemper, during his whole reign ; for the syllable 
Oil in the Irish is the same as great in the English, and SJan 
signifies health, which, by beina: transposed and joined with the 
other word, is pronounced Slanoll. This prince died at Tara, in 
the house of Modhchuarda, but the distemper that occasioned his 
death was never known. 
^-,,0 Geide Ollgothach succeeded him. He was the third 

' son of Ollamh Fodhla, son of Fiachadh Fionnsgothach, 
son of Seadhna, son of Artri, son of Eibhric, son of Heber, son 
of Ir, son of Milesuis, and he sat upon the throne severt- 

OF IRELAND. 1 i'l 

teen years. He received the name of G^ide Ollgothach, be 
causfe the people of Ireland, in his time, had a custom of being 
very loud and noisy wnen they spoke ; for the syllable Oil, a& 
was before observed, signifies great, and the word Gothach signi- 
fies talking or speaking, which, when they are joiped together, 
sound Ollgothach, that is, great or loud talking. This prince 
was at length killed by Fiachadh, the son of Fionnachta. 

Fiachadh, the son of Fionnachta, son of Ollamh Fod- 
t\ ppj hla, son of Fiachadh Fionnsgothach, son of Seadhna, 
■^ son of Artri, son of Eibhric, son of Heber, son of Ir, 

son of Milesius, obtained the crown and reigned 20 years, as some 
of the chronicles assert j though upon a strict inspection 1 am 
induced to believe, that he governed four years more, for the 
regal table admits of no interregnum, and the book of the 
reigns of the Irish kings speaks very dubiously concerning the 
reign of this prince. It seems to intimate, that there were other 
competitors with him, who raised pretences to the government, 
and particularly observes, that Beafngall, the succeeding mo- 
narch, made war upon him for some years before he lost the 
soveretgnt^y : the four years therefore that passed, while the 
ciown was in dispute, may be placed to the reign of either of 
these princes, for the reasons above mentioned. This king was 
at length dethroned and slain by Bearngall, the son of Geide 
on ^^ Bearngall was his successor. He was the son of Geide 

Ollgothach, son of Ollamh Fodla, son of Fiochadh 
Fionnsgothach, son of Seadhna, son of ^rtri, son of Eibhric, 
son of Heber, son of Ir, son of Milesius. His reign continued 
twelve years, and he was killed by Oilioll, the son of Slanoll. 
oiq/^ Oilioll, the son of Slanoll, son of Ollamh Fodhla, son 
; of Fiachadh Fionnsgothach, son of Seadhna, son of Ar- 
tri, son of Eibhric, son of Heber, son of Ir, son of Milesius, 
king of Spain, sat next upon the throne. He reignea sixteen 
years, and lost his life by the hands of Siorna Saoghalach, son 
of Dein. 
22 TO Siorna Saoghalach succeeded. He was the son of 

Dein, son of Kotheachta, son of Maoin, son of Aongus 
Ollmuchach, son of Fiachadh Labhruine, son of Smiorgoill, son 
of Eaubotha, son of Tighermas, son of Follain, son of Eith- 
riall, son of Irialfaidh, son of Heremon, son of Milesius, king 
of Spain ; and his reign lasted twenty-one years. He was 
called Siorna Saoghalach, because he lived to an exceeding great 
age, beyond any of hib time, as his name plainly imports. Ho 




was slain by Rotheachta, the son of Roan, at Aillin ; as the old 
poet gvies us to understand in the following lines, taken out uf 
a poem which begins thus, Eir ard Inis na Roig. 

Sioraa reigned one-and-twenty years, 
And prosperously -wore the Irish crown ; 
Bxit, though long lived, he died a fatal death, 
Unfortunately slain by Rotheachta, 
At Ailhn. 

Rotheachta succeeded him ; he was the son of Roan, 
son of Failbhe, son of Cas Cead Chaingniodb, son of 
Aildergoid, son of Mjiineamhoin, son of Cas Clothach, 
son of Firarda, son of Rotheachta, son of Rosa, son of Glas, 
son of Nuaghatt Deaglamh, son of Eochaidh Faobharglas, son 
of Conmaol, son of Heber Fionn, son of Milesius. His reign 
was not long, for he governed but seven years, and died at last 
terribly, for he perished by fire at Dunn Sobhairce. 
„^ - Eilm was his successor. He was the son of Roth- 

"" " ' eachta, son of Roan son of Failbhe, son of Cas Cead 
Chaingniodh, son of Aildergoid, son of Muineamhoin, son of 
Cas Clothach, son of Firarda, son of Rotheachta, son "of Rosa, 
son of Glas, son of Nuaghatt Deaglamh, son of Eochaidh Faob- 
harglas, son of Conmaol, son of Heber Fionn, son of Milesius. 
He was slain, after a reign of one year, by Giallacha, son of Oli- 
olla Olchaoin. 

^911 Giallacha cbtaJned the crown. He was the son of 

*" ' Oliolla Olchaoin, son of Siorna Saoghalach, son of Dein, 
son of Rotheachta, son of Aongus Ollmuchach, son of Fia- 
chadh Lahruine, son of Smiorgoill, son of Eanbotha, son of 
Tighermas, of the posterity of the line of Heremon. His reign 
cnnt'nued nine years, and he was killed by Art Imleach, at 
Moighe Muadh 

oi^i^rx Art Imleach succeeded. He was the son of Eilm, son 
'^ ' of*Rotheachta, son of Roan, son of Failbhe, son of Cas 
Cead Chaingniodh, son of Ail^Iergoid, a descendant from Heber 
Fionn. He sat upon the throne twenty-two years, and was 
killed by Nuadha Fionn Fail. 

„n79 Nuadha Fionn Fail was his successor. He was the 
* son of Giallncha, son of Oliolla Olchaoin, son of Siorna 
Saoghalach, of the line of Heremon. His reign lasted twenty 
years, and he was slain by his successor Breasrigh, the son of 
Art Imleach. 

q»pQ9 Breasrigh, the son of Art Imleach, son of Eilm, son 
^ *'* of Rotheachta, son of Roan, a prince of the posterity of 

OF IRELA^B. ^ 178 

Heber Fionn, succeeded. He governed the kiugdon nine years, 
and fought many successful battles against the pirates that in- 
fested the coasts. He was killed by Eochaidh Apthach, at Cam 

Eochaidh Apthach obtained the crown. He was the 
„ * j son of Fin, son of Oliolla^ son of Floinruadh, son of Roith- 
' lain, son of Martineadh, son of Sitchin, son of Riaglan, 
son of Eochaidh Breac, son of Luigheach, son of Ith, son of Breo- 
gan. His reign was but short, for he sat upon the throne but 
one year. He was distinguished by the name of Eochaidh Ap- 
thach, because during the short time of his reign there was a 
great mortality among his subjects, that swept away most of the 
inhabitants ; for once in every month the whole island was in- 
fected with a malignant distemper that was incurable. The Irish 
word Apthach signifies a plague or infection. He was killed by 
Fionn, son of Bratha. 
„^2 Fionn, the son of Bratha, son -of Labhra, son of Cairbro, 

son of Ollamh Fodhla, a descendant in succession from 
Ir, the son of Milesius, obtained the crown. He governed twenty 
years, and was slain by Seadhna Jonaraicc. 
0099 Seadhna Jonaraicc was his successor. He was the soa 
^ ^^' of Breasrigh, son of Art Imleach, of the line of Heber 
Fionn, and reigned twenty years. He was called Seadhna Jona- 
raicc, because he was the first monarch of Ireland that settled a 
constant pay upon the ofiicers and soldiers of his army, and 
maintained them, by a fixed salary, according to the quality of 
their posts and commissions. He likewise ordained military laws, 
and instituted a form of discipline that was a standard to the 
Milesians for many ages. This unfortimate prince was inhumanly 
murdered by his successor, and had his limbs violently drawn 
asunder, which put him to inexpressible torture. 
ooj^9 Simon Breac by this barbarous act obtained the 

crown. He was the son of Nuadh Fionn Fail, of the line 
of Heremon. His reign continued six years ; but the Divine 
vengeance pursued him in an exemplary manner, for he was 
seized by Duach Fionn, the son of his predecessor, who justly 
punished him with the same ignominious death he had iuflictsd 
upon his father, and ordered his body to l^e torn to pieces, 
004^0 Duach Fionn, son of Seadhna Jonaraicc, son of Brers 

righ, a descendant from Heber Fionn, succeeded, and 
reigned five years. He was slain by Muireadhach Balgrach. 
«<. jj« Muireadhach Balgrach was his successor. He was tho 
' ' son of the cruel Simon Breac, of the posterity of Here- 




mon. He gfov^erned the kingdom four years, and then was killed ■ 
by Eadhna Dearg, the son of Duach Fioun. 

Eadhna Dearg, the son of Duach Fionn, son of Seadhna 
o"^" ' Jonaraicc, of the line of Heber Fionn, succeeded, and 
' reigned twelve years. The reason why he was distin- 
guished by the name of Eadhna Des^rg was, because he was remark- 
able for a fresh and sanguine complexion. It was in the reign of 
this prince that a mint waserected, and money coined, at Airgiod- , 
ross. He did not die by the sword, as did Uiost of his predecessors, 
but was destroyed by the plague, which depopulated most part 
of the island, and was buried at Sliabh Mis. 
o'^nq Lughaidh Jardhoinn obtained the government. He 

* was the son of Eadhna Dearg, son of Duach Fionn, of 
the posterity of Heber Fionn, and was monarch of the island 
nine years. He was called Lughaidh Jardhoinn from the colour 
of his hair, which was a very dark brown ; for the word Jar- 
dhoinn, or Dubhdhonn, in Irish, is the same as dark brown in 
English, which gave occasion to his name. This prince was 
killed Ipy Siorlamh, the son of Fionn, at Roth Clochair. 

0070 Siorlamh, the son of Fionn, son of Bratha, son of 

* Labhra, son of Cairbre, son of Ollamh Fodhla, a descen- 
dant from Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain, succeeded in the 
throne, and governed the island sixteen years. He was known 
by the name of Siorlamh, from the extraordinary length of his 
hands ; for the word Sior, in the Irish language, has the signifi- 
cation of long in English, and Lamh is the same with hands. 
And indeed this monarch was called so with great propriety, for 
nature had furnished him with hands so long, that when, he 
eiood upright his fingers would touch the ground. His successor, 
Eochaidh Uairceas, slew him, and put an end to his reign. 
^nqA Eochaidh Uairceas seized upon the crown. He was 
^"^ ' the son of Lughaidh Jardhoinn, son of Eadhna Dearg, a 
descendant from Heber Fionn, and ruled the kingom twelve 
years. He was called by the name of Eochaidh Uairceas, from 
a sort of skiffs or small boats, of which he was the inventor. 
This prince was banished, or driven out of the kingdom of Ire- 
land, two years beforef he came to the government j and, when 
ho was obliged to quit the island, he summoned and took with 
him a select number of his followers and friends, and in thirty 
ships well manned with choice troops and expert mariners, be 
set to sea, (this was his security all the time of his. banishment,) 
but he would often come upon the coasts, and spoil the inhabi- 
cants ; and for the convenient landing of his men he invented a 


.oi't of cock-boats, that were easy to maaage, and covered thera 
vv'ith the skins of beasts. By this device he would frequently 
set a body of his men on shore, and make great depredations 
upon the coasts, and plundered all the maritime parts of the 
country. This invention gave occasion to his name ; for the 
word Uairceas, or(asothers pronounc3 it) FuarceaSj-signifiesacold 
fckifF, or a cock-boat, in Englisli ; because these small vessels were 
used in the cold and severest weather for the conveniency of 
landing. These skiffs are called in the Irish language by the 
ii'ime of Curachs or Curachain, and are made use of in some parts 
of the island to this day. This Irish monarch was slain by Eo- 
Ciiaidh Fiadhmhuine. 

Eochaidh Fiadhmhuine, and his brother, Conning Beg 
oru'a A-glach, obtained the sovereignty. They were the sons 

of Duach Teamhrach, son of Muireadhach Balgrach, son 
of Simon Breac, of the royal line of Heremon. They reigned 
joint monarchs oi the island for five years. The eldest of these 
princes was distinguished by the name of Eochaidh Fiadhmhuine, 
because he to6k great pleasure in the chasing of deer and other 
wild beasts, which he frequently hunted in the woody and wild 
parts .of the country ; for the word Fiadh in Irish signifies a deer, 
and Muine is the same as a wood or desolate wilderness in English, 
which words, when they are joined, make Fiadhmhuine. These 
brothers lost the kingdom, and Eochaidh Fiadhmhuine was slain 
by Luighaidh Lamhdhearg, the son of Eochaidh Vairceas. 
o i 1 1 Luighaidh Lamhdhearg, the son of Eochaidh Vairceas, 

a prince of the posterity of Heber Fionn, succeeded, and 
reigned seven years. He was kLOwn by the name of Luighaidh 
Ivamhdhearg, because he had a remarkable red spot upon one 
Oi his hands. He was killed by Conning Beg Aglach,who made 
■war upon him, and by that menus revenged his brother'? 
«^1 o Conning Beg Aglach obtained the crown. He was tha 

son of Duach Teamharach, son of Muireadhach Balgrach, 
son of Simon Breac, of the line of Heremon. When he had 
overcome his competitor, he resumed the government, and 
reigned ten years. He received the name of Conuing Beg 
Aglach, because he was a prince of an undaunted spirit, exposed 
his life with the greatest bravery, and was always seen in the 
heat of action ; for the words Beg Aglach signify resolute and 
fearless. This monarch was of a strong constitution of body, 
and was inspired with a soul capable of designing and executinn 
^he greatest actions. The glory of the Iriih nation was rai^^el 


to a c 'nsiderable height, during the reign of this king, who not 
only fought successfully against the enemies of his country, but 
governed his subjects at home with justice and moderation, and 
ruled absolutely in the hearts and affections of his people. But 
these excellent qualities could not protect him from the at- 
tempts of Art, who succeeded him, and slew him ; as a poet of 
gieat antiquity observes in this manner. 

Conuing the brave, with love of glory fired, 
Oppress 'd by force, triumphantly expirea ; 
He I'aised his courage for the last debate, 
And with a princely soul undaunted met his fate. 
Slain by the sword of Art. 

^ Art succeeded to the crown. He was the son of 

^^g Luighaidh Lamhdearg, of the line of Heber Fionn, and 

governed the kingdom six years ; he lost his life by the 
hands of Duach Laghrach, who, with the assistance of his father, 
slew him. 
oA>jA Fiachadh Tolgrach, the son oi MuireadKach Balgrach, 

son of Simon Breac, son of Aodhain Glas, a prince of 
the posterity of Heremon, was his successor, and was monarch 
oi the island for seven years. His life and reign were ended by the 
sword of Oil! oil Fionn, who slew him. 
^4.41 Oilioil Fionn possessed the thx'one. He was the sou 

of Art, the son of Luighdheach Lamdhearg, of the line 
of Heber Fionn, and he wore the crown nine years, but waa 
killed by Airgeadmhar, with the assistance of Fiacha and hia 
two sons. 
^A^O Eochaidh, the son of Oilioil Fionn, son of Art, son of 

Luididheach Lamdhearg, of the posterity of Heber Fionn, 
succeeded, and he governed the island seven years. He would 
not admit of a partner in the throne, and refused to allow 
Airgeadmhar a share in the government. He made a peaco 
with Duach, which continued but a short time, for he was after-:, 
wards slain by him, after a reign of seven years. 
„^P_ Airgeadmhar was his successor. He was the son of 

Siorlamh, son of Finn, son of Bratha, a prince of the 
posterity of Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain. He filled 
the throne for twenty-three years, and was at last killed by 
Duach Laghrach, and by Lughaidh Laighde. 
c,Aor\ Duach Laghrach seized upon the crown. He was the 

son of Fiachadh Tolgrach, son of Muireadhach Bolgrach, 
son of Simon Breac, descended from th^family of Heremou, and 

OP Tnn.A>cD. 177 

governed the island ten years. The reason why he was distin 
guished by the name of Duach Laghrach, was because he was 
so strict and hasty in the execution of justice, that he was im-- 
patient and would not admit of a moment's delay, till the cri- 
minal was seized and tried for the offence : for the word Ladh- 
rach in the Irish language signifies speedy and sudden, which 
gave occasion to his name. He was killed by Lughaidh Laighe, 
A.M. Lughaidh Laighe was his successor. He was the son 

3490. of Eochaidh, son of Oiliolla Fionn, of the posterity of 
Ileber Fionn, and he was monarch of the island seven years. 
An old book, called the Etymology of Names, asserts, that this 
Lughaidh was one of the five sons of Daire Domhtheach, and 
that all the brothers went by the same name. The same author 
relates, that a certain druid, who had the skill of prophecy, 
foretold to Daire, the father, that he should have a son, whose 
name should be Lughaidh, who should one day sit upon the 
throne of Ireland. Daire, it seems, afterwards had five sons, 
and the more effectually to bring about this prediction, he gave 
the same name to every one. When the five brothers were 
come to a maturity of years, Daire took an opportunity to call 
upon the druid, and inquired of him which of his sons should 
have the honour of being monarch of the island 1 The druid. 
instead of giving him a direct answer, ordered him to take his 
five sons with him on the morrow to Tailtean, where there was 
to be a general convention of all the principal nobility and 
gentry of the kingdom, and that while the assembly sat he 
should see a fawn or young deer running through the field, 
which should be pursued by all the company ; his five sons 
likewise would ran among the rest, and whosoever of them 
overtook and killed the lawn, the crown should be his, and he 
should be sole monarch of the island. The father followed the 
direction of the druid with great exactness, and accordingly the 
next day set out with his five sons, and came to Tailtean, where 
he lound the assembly sitting, and looking about him, he spied 
the fawn running over the fields, and the whole assembly left 
their debates and pursued her ; the five brothers ran 
among the rest, and followed her close till they came to 
Binneadair, now called the hill of Hoath ; here a mist, 
that was raised by enchantment, separated the five sons of 
Daire from the other pursuers, and they continued the chase, 
and hunted her as tar as Dail Maschorb, in Leinster, where 
Lughaidh Laighe, as the druid foretold, overtook the fawn, and 
killed her. b'rom this traa-jauaon this priucj was called Lugh- 


aidh Laiglie, for the word Laiglie in the Irish signifies a fawn. 
There goes an old story of no great credit concerning this 
monarch, which, though it be a fiction, I shall mention, out of 
respect to its antiquity ; for it is a fable of many hundred years' 
standing. This prince, it seems, as he was hunting in one of 
the forests of Ireland, and was divided from his retinue that 
followed him, was met by an old withered hag, who, after soma 
discourse with him, prevailed to be admitted into his embraces, 
and accordingly they retired to a private place of the wood, 
where, when the king attempted to caress her, he was surprised 
with the appearance of a most beautiful young lady, and instead 
of a deiormed old woman, he found a lovely maid in his arms. 
This vision represented, as the legend observes, the genius of 
the kingdom oi Ireland, which this monarch obtained with great 
difficulty and danger ; but though he underwent very grievous 
hardships belore he had the crown fixed upon his head, yet ho 
was amply rewarded for his sufterings, with the possession of tho 
sovereignty and the riches of one of the most fruitful islands ia 
the whole world. So far is the relation of this ancient writer ; 
but I much question his fidelity, and every one is left to judgo 
for himself. But notwithstanding the account given of this 
prince in the fore-mentioned book of Etymology, that he was 
the son of Daire Doimhthach, yet I am apt to believe that the 
king I am speaking of was a person different from his son, and 
that the prediction of the druid belonged to another man of 
the same name. Lughaidh Laighe, after a reign of seven years, 
was slain by Aodh Ruadh, son of Badhurn. 
o ,Q^ Aodh Ruadh succeeded in the government. He wag' 
the son of Badhurn, son of Airgeadmhar, son of Siorlamh, 
^?on of Finn, son of Bratha, son of Labhradh, son of Carbre, 
son of Ollamh Fodhla, of the family of Ir, the son of Milesius, 
king of Spain. He was monarch ot the island twenty-one years, 
and was unfortunately drowned at Easruadh. 

Diothorba, the son of Diomain, son of Airgeadmhar, 
^:^' son of Siorlamh, of the posterity of Ir, the son of Mile- 

' sius, succeeded him. He likewise governed the king- 
dom twenty-one- years, and died of a malignant distemper at 
Eamhain Macha. 
„;.o^ Ciombaoith, son of Fionntan, son of Airgeadmhar,' 

' son of Siorlamh, son of Finn, a descendant from Ir, the 
son of Milesius, succeeded, and reigned over the island twenty 
years; he was at last destroyed by the plague at Eamhaia 


Maclia Mongruadh obtained the crown. She was the 
o^'-k daughter of Aodh Ruadh, son of Badhurn, son of Sior- 
lamh, a descendant from Ir, the son of Milesius ; and she 
reigned seven years. It was in the government of this princess 
that the royal palace of Eamdaih was erected : and the reason 
why that magnificent structure was called Eamhain Macha is 
thus related in the Irish records. There were three princes in 
the province of Ulster, who for a long time waged continual, 
wars for the government of the island : their names were Aodh 
Ruadh, the son of Badhurn, from whom Easruad obtained its 
name ; Diathorba, tiie son of Demain, from Visneach Meath ; 
and Ciombaoith, the son of Fionntan, from Fionnabhair. These 
three kings, after they had worn one another out with struggling 
for the crown, came at last to an agreement, and consented that 
every one should reign monarch successively, for the space of 
twenty or twenty-one years ; and by the force of these articles 
they had all their turns, and sat upon the throne according to 
the treaty. Aodh Ruadh was the first of these three princes 
that wore the crown, and died ; but left only a daughter behind 
him, whose name was Macha Mongruadh, or the red-haired 
princsss. Diathorba, according to the agreement, obtained the 
government, and reigned the whole time that was allotted him : 
then he resigned, and by the articles Ciombaoith, who was the 
third prince in succession, reigned his time ; for Aodh Ruadli 
died, as we observ^ed before, and left no son behind him. But 
the princess Macha Mongruadh claimed the throne, as she was 
the daughter of Aodh Rnadh, and insisted upon her right of 
inheritance, because her father, if he had lived, should have 
succeeded next. Diathorba, meeting with this unexpected 
opposition, sent for his five sons, who were persons of great 
courage and ambition, and, when he had informed them of the 
design of this young lady, they all came to a resolution to stand 
by the former treaty, and vindicate their pretensions by the 
sword ; for they could not bear that- a woman should fill the 
throne of Ireland, and attempt to govern so brave and warlike 
a people. 

The princess Macha was a lady of an invincible spirit, of a 
strong robust constitution, able to endure hardships, of a bold 
enterprising genius, and is always mentioned with great honour 
and respact by the Irish historians. As soon as she heard of the 
preparations of Diathorba and his sons, she resolved not to ba 
surprised, and therefore she sent a summons to the principal 
nobility who took her part, and commissions to raise a st»"fiig 


body of troops, and with all possible expedition to attack the 
enemy. Diathorba and his sons were supported by a numeroiu 
army, well disciplined. In a short time the two competitors 
met, and their whole forces engaged, and a most desperate 
battle was fought, when the princess Macha obtained a complete 
victory. This success fixed the crown firmer upon her head, and 
gave peace to the kingdom for some time ; for Diathorba did, 
not long survive the misfortune, but died with grief, and left* 
five sons, whose names were Baoth, Buadhach, Bras, Uallach,- 
and Borbchas, to insist upon their claim, and when opportunity 
offered, to defend their rights. 

It was not long before these five brothers, by the interest of 
their friends, raised a considerable body of men, and resolved 
once more to appear in the field, and decide their pretensions 
to the crown. But before they offered battle they dispatched a 
herald to the princess, to demand the government and the pos- 
session of their right, to which they had a just claim, not only 
by the treaty, but upon the account of their family, as they 
were descended from the royal line of the Irish monarchs. The 
princess, instead of complying with the summons, sent the 
messenger away with indignation, and told him she would soon 
chastise his masters for their insolence, at the head of her vic- 
torious army ; and she was as good as her word, for soo» after 
both armies engaged, and fought with great bravery, and victory 
v.'-as a long time in suspense, for no less than the kingdom of 
Ireland depended upon the event, and was to be the prize of the 
conqueror : but after a bloody and sharp action, the confede- 
rate army of the brothers was broken, and a- general rout fol- 
lowed, and by this success the princess got absolute possession 
of the throne. 

After this defeat the brothers were close pursued, and forced 
to conceal themselves in the woods and marshes of the country ; 
but they were discovered to the queen, who resolved upon a. 
stratagem to apprehend them, very dangerous and difficult in 
the execution. It seems that after this battle she was pleased 
to marry Ciombaoith, the son of Fionntan, and to him she left 
the government of the kingdom, and the command of the army, 
"while she took upon herself to go in quest of the five preten- 
ders, and if possible to secure them from any farther attempts 
upon the crown. To bring this to pass she laid by her roboa 
of state, and disguised herself in an ordinary habit, suitable to 
her design, and changed the colour of her hair, which was re- 
markable for its redness, by powdering it with the fiower of rye. 


II this obscure dress she set forward, without any attendants, 
owards the woods of Buirrinn, where the brothers were con- 
;ealed ; and after some search she found them together, boil- 
ng part of a wild boar which they had hunted and killed. 
Vhen she advanced near them, she was observed by the young 
Lien, who were surprised at the sight of a woman in so solitary 
. place ; but when they recovered themselves they civilly asked 
ler to sit down, and partake of what entertainment she found, 
or their misfortunes had obliged them to that way of life, and 
heir desperate circumstances could supply them with no other 
Drovision. She courteously accepted of the invitation ; and 
iter she had eaten, one of the brothers, with an air of gallan- 
ry, said, that the lady, though she was none of the handsomest 
n the face, yet she had fair lovely eyes, and therefore declared 
le could not withstand the temptation, and resolved to have a 
learer acquaintance with her. Accordingly he took her by the 
land, and leads her to a close thicket at some distance, and at- 
empted to debauch her ; but she, observing her opportunity, 
aid hold upon his arms, and, after some struggle, by main force 
vercame him ; and having brought cords with her for the pur- 
iose, she bound him fast, and returned to the four brothers. 

They were somewhat surprised to see the lady without her 
•allant, and asked what was become of her lover ; she told them 
he supposed he was ashamed to appear and show his face, after 
16 had condescended so much below his quality as to converse 
vith so mean a person ; and this reply she delivered in so 
Qodest a manner, that they resolved in turns to withdraw with 
ler, and use her as they pleased, which they attempted one 
/iter another, btit she played the same part with them all, and 
secured them. By this dangerous stratagem she brought 
hem away prisoners with her, and returned to court, where her 
iusband, and the principal nobility and commons of the king- 
lom, w^ere impatiently expecting the event. When she had 
■elated the particulars of the adventure, she was applauded and 
congratulated by the whole company, and with a noble carriage 
iLe delivered up her captives. 

The five competitors for the crown being thus apprehended, 
lie council of the kingdom sat to determine what sentence should 
je passed upon them ; and they unanimously agreed, that tiie 
jeace of the government would never be settled uitTess they 
'ere all put to death. But the queen, who was of a merciful 
lisposition, interposed, and as she had hazarded her own royal 
jeition to secure them, ahe desired their lives might be saved, for 


182 "~ ' THE GlilNERAL HIST'ORY 

it would be contrary to the established laws and customs of the 
land to proceed to execution ; and insisted, that, instead of death, 
their punishment might be, to erect a stately palace in that pro- 
vince, where the prince should always keep his court. They 
agreed to the justice of her request, and upon that condition tho 
five brothers saved their lives. 

The queen undertook t6 draw the plan of this structure, 
which she did with her bodkin that she wore on her neck, and 
served to bind her hair. The name of this royal fabr^c is Earn- 
liuin Macha, and it was so called from the pin or bodkin that 
the queen used in laying out the area of it ; for Eo in the Irish 
language signifies a needle or bodkin, and Muin is the same as 
neck in English, which words together sound Eomuin, and some- 
times it is read Eamhuin, because it signifies the pin of the neck, 
which gave occasion to the name. This word, with the name of 
the queen joined to it, was the reason that this building was 
called Eamhuin Macha. 

There is another account, mentioned in some Irish chronicles, 
different from what we have now related, and asserts, that the 
palace of Eamhuin Macha received its name from a woman so 
called, who was wife to Cruin, the son of Adnamhuin. .This 
woman, it seems, was obliged (for what reason is uncertain) to 
run a race with the horses of Connor, king of Ulster, and (as 
the story goes on) she out-ran them, and came first to the goal ; 
she was with child at the time, and near her delivery, and when 
she fell in labour was delivered of twins, a son and a daughter. 
The barbarity of this action, and the pains she suffered in tra- 
vaij, so incensed the unfortunate woman, that she left a curse • 
upon the men of Ulster ; and heaven heard her, for the men of 
that province were constantly afflicted with the pains of child- 
bearing for many years, from the time of Connor, who then 
reigned in Ulster, to the succession of Mai, the son of Roch- 
ruide. This Irish heroine governed the kingdom for many 
years, in a magnificent manner. She was the delight of her sub- 
jects, and the terror of her enemies, but was at last slain by 
Eeachta Righdhearg, who succeeded her. 

Reachta Righdhearg was the next monarch. He was 
J";^' the son of Lughaidh Laighe, son of Eochaidh, son of' 
OilioU Finn, son of Lughaidh Lamdhearg, son of Eo- 
chaidh Uflirceas, a prince of the posterity of Heber Fionn, and 
governed the kingdom twenty years. He was distinguished by 
the name of Reachta Righdhearg, because one of his arms was 
exceeding red, for the word Rig in the Irish language signifies 


an arm : lie was killed by Ugaine Mure, in revenge for his foster- 

Ugaiue More, who was surnamed the Great, obtained 
■jr'^.n the crown. He was son of Eochaidh Buaidhaig, son of 
Duach Laidhrach, a descendant from the royal line of He- 
remon, and was monarch of the island thirty years, or, as some writ- 
ers assert, governed it forty years. He was known by the name of 
Ugaine More, because his dominions were enlarged beyond the 
bounds of his predecessors ; for he was the sovereign prince of 
all the western European isles. This prince had a very nume- 
rous issue ; for he had twenty-five children, twenty- two sons and 
three daughters. 

When his sons were grown up, each of them took upon him- 
self to raise a company of soldiers, and in a military manner 
they would march through the kingdom, and raise contributions 
upon the country for their support ; and no sooner had one 
troop left a place, but another came and consumed all the pro- 
visions that were left. This oppression was insupportable, and 
the subjects were forced to represent their grievances to the king, 
and complain to him of the distressed state of the country. 
Upon this remonstrance Ugaine convened his council, and con- 
sulted how he should suppress these violent meafsures of his 
sons, that were of the most destructive consequence to his people. 
It was their advice, that the kingdom of Ireland should be 
divided into five-and-twenty parts,, and shared equally between 
his children, under this restriction, that the young princes should 
content themselves with the portion assigned them, and confine 
themselves within the bounds of their own territories, without 
presuming to encroach upon the dominions of their neighbours. 
In confirmation of this division, we meet with the following lines 
in a very old poet : 

Ugaine. the monarch of the western isle, 
Concerned at the oppression of his people, 
l>ivided into equal parts his kingdom 
Between his five-aud-tweiity chiltlren. 

And by the rules of this division, the public taxes and reve- 
nues of the island were collected hj the king of Ireland, for the 
space of three hundred years after, from the time of this mo- 
narch down to the provincial ages. 

I confess the kingdom of Ireland was also divided in a man- 
ner different from this ; but that division was not made by 
Ugaiue the Great, but bj Eochaidh Feidhliach, who, by Hia 


royal donation, conferred the country upon his prime raini-ters. 
The province of Ulster he settled upon Feargus, the son of 
Leighe ; the province of Leinster he bestowed upon Rossa, the 
sou of Feargus Fairge ; the two provinces of Munster he gave 
to Tighernach TeadhbJieamach and Deaghadh. He divided the 
province of Oonacht between three of his favourites, whose names 
were Fiodhach, son of Feig, Eochaidh Allat and Tinne, sons of 
Conrach. But a particular account will be given of these trans- 
actions when the course of this history brings us to treat of the 
reign of Eochaidh Feidhliach, a succeeding monarch in the go- 
vernment of the country. 

Ugaine left behind him two sons', Laoghaire Lorck, and Cobh- 
thach Caolmbreag, by whom the royal line of Heremon waa 
continued ; and to these princes all- the future branches of that 
family owe their descent. After a long reign this great monarch 
was slain by Badhbhchadh, the son of Eochaidh Buaidhaig, but 
he did not succeed him. 

Laogiiaire Lorck, the son of Ugaine More, laid claim 
rr*Qfi ^'^ ^tie government, and fixed himself in the throne. 
He was the grandson of Eochaidh Buaidhaig, son of 
Duach Laidhrach, a descendant from Heremon ; and he wore 
the crown two years. His mother was a French princess, her 
name was Ceasair Cruthach, a daughter of the king of France ; 
Sii3 was the wife of Ugaine More, and had issue, this monarch 
and his brother Cobhthach Caolmbreag. This king was distin- 
guished by the name of Laoghaire Lorck, because he seized upon 
the murderer of his father, who was Badhbhchadh, the son of 
Eochaidh Buaidhaig, and slew him ; for the word Lorck, in the 
Irish language, signifies murder or slaughter. But he was after- 
wards most perfidiously slain himself, by his brother Cobhthach 
Caolmbreag, at Didhion Riogh, near the bank of the river Bear- 
biia. The circumstances of this inhuman act are thus related 
in the records of Ireland. The king Laoghaire Lorck was very 
kind and indulgent to his brother, and settled a princely revenue 
upon him ; but his bounty and affection met with very ungrate- 
ful returns, for Cobiithach envied his brother the enjoyment of 
the crown, and nothing less tlian the whole kingdom would sa- 
tisfy his ambition ; and because he could not obtain his ends he 
perfectly languished, through grief and madness, for his consti- 
tution was broken, and his body daily wasted, which brought 
him into so bad a state of health that his life was despaired of. 
As soon as the king heard of his sickness, and the melancholy 
circumstauuas he was in, he resolved to pay him a visit, and set 

opirrl\!:d. 185 

out with liis b?dy guards and his household troops about him 
for that purpose. When he came to his bed side, the sick prince, 
observing that his brother was attended by men in arms, 
asked the reason of such a military retinue, and seemed to re- 
sent it, as if he suspected his fidelity, and dared not trust him- 
self with a sick man without such a warlike attendance. The 
king courteously answered, that he never entertained the least 
suspicion of his loyalty or affection, but came in that manner 
only for state, and to keep up the dignity of his royal character ; 
but that rather than make him uneasy he promised the next 
visit he made him he would be without a guard ; and so, with 
the most tender and compassionate expressions, he took hi3 

The perfidious Cobhthach, reflecting that his brother would 
soon come to visit him alone and unattended, resolved upon his 
death ; but not relying upon his own capacity, he communicated 
his design to a wicked druid, and advised with him in what 
manner he should accomplish his purpose. The infamous 
soothsayer, instead of detecting the treason, encouraged the con- 
spirator ; and upon consultation it was agreed, that Cobhthach 
should feign himself to be dead, and when his brother came to 
lament over his body, he was to stab him with a poniard that 
was to be concealed by him. And this barbarous stratagem had 
its desired success ; for when the news of his brother's death 
came to Laogbaire, he immediately came to the body, and as he 
was lying upon it, expressing his sorrow, his brother secretly 
thrust his poniard into his belly, and killed him. 

But he thought he was not sufficiently secure in his usurpa- 
tion by the murder of the king, unless he destroyed all the priucea 
of the blood, that might claim a right or give him any distur- 
bance on the throne ; he therefore murdered Oilioll xiine, the 
son of Laogbaire ; and likewise designed to take away the life 
of a young prince, who was the grandson of his brother ; but 
he was saved almost by a miracle, for when the cruel tyrant sent 
for the child, he forced him to eat part of the hearts of his 
facher and grandfather ; and to torture him the more, he caused 
him to swallow a living mouse, and by such inhuman methods 
iesolved to destroy him : but by a strange providence the child 
was so affrighted by these barbarities, that he seemed distracted, 
and by the convulsions and agonies he was in perfectly lost the 
use of his speech ; which when the usiu'per perceived he dis- 
TTiissed him with his life, for he thought he wo-uld never recover 


his senses, arid therefore could not be able to assert his right, oi 
give him disturbance in the government. 

This young prince was called Maion, and was conveyed awaj 
by his friends to Corcaduibhne, in the west of Munster, wher< 
be was entertained for some time by Scoriat, who was the king 
of that country ; from thence he removed into France, with 
nine of his friends, (though some antiquaries are of opinion that 
he went into the country of Armenia.) who, soon after his ar- 
ri\/al, discovered to the French king the circumstances of his 
royal birth, and the tragical history of his misfortunes. The 
king was so affected with this relation, that he received him 
into his service, and soon after advanced him to be his general 
in chief, and fixed him in the command of his whole army. He 
had by this time his voice restored, and in this post he behaved^ 
with so much bravery and conduct, that his character and repu- 
tation increased daily, and" was carried abroad into all the neigh- 
bouring countries, and at length came to the knowledge of tlie 
loyal party in Ireland, many of whom resorted to him to avoid 
the tyrpn ly of the usurper The mOnarch, Laoghaire Lorck, 
being murdered, after a short reign of two 3'ears, his brothtr 
seizdd upon the crown. 

Cobhthach Caolmbreag set the crown upon his owa 
o./^o head. He was the son of Ugaiue More, the son of Eoc- 
haidh Buaidhaig, of the royal line of Heremon. Not- 
withstanding his usurpation, and the disaffection of his subJ3Ct8 
he reigned tliirtj years, and, if we believe some chronicles, he 
governed the kingdom fifty years. His mother, as was observed 
before, was tiie daughter of the king of France. He was 
known by the name of Cobhthach Caolmbreag, because his body 
was so macerated and worn away, by envy and ambition, that 
he seemed to be a walking shadow : he had no flesh upon hia 
bones, nor scarce any blood ia his veins, and the consumption 
had reduced him to a skeleton ; for the Irish word Caol signi- 
fies small and lean, and the place where he resided in his sick- 
ness was called Maghbreag, for wuich reason he had the name 
of Caolmbreag, After this long reign vengeance overtook him, 
and he was set upon and slain by Maoin, who was called Lab- 
hradh Loingseach, as a j ust sacrifice to the gliosts of his father 
and grandfather. 

ofAQ Labhradh Loingseach 'was his successor. He was a 
^ ^ " son of Oilioli Aine, son of Laoghaire Lorck, son of Ugaine 
More j and wore the crown eighteen years, but fell at last by the 
isword ot Meilge, the son of Cobhthach Caolmbreag. This laoa- 


nrch was a learned and valiant prince, and acquired such repu- 
tp.tion when he commanded the army of France, that Moriat, 
the daughter of Scoriat, the king of Fearmorck, in the west of 
Munster, charmed with the relation of his exploits, conceived a 
wonderful affection for him, and fell desperately in love with 
him ; and to discover her passion, and recommend herself to his 
esteem, she employed an eminent musician that was then in Ire* 
land, whose name was Craftine, to carry over a letter to France, 
with a noble present of jewels, and to deliver them in a proper 
manner to the general, as a testimony of her love and the value 
she had for him. The musician faithfully executed bis message, 
and, arriving in France, he found away to have access to Labh- 
r dh. When he was introduced to him, he delivered his cre- 
dentials, and then took out his harp, and played a most ravish- 
ing tune, which was the better received because he sung with it 
a poem that was composed by the young lady in praise of the 
heroic actions of the general. From this happy adventure Labh- 
radh resolved to vindicate and prosecute his right to the crown 
of Ireland; and when he had communicated his design to some 
of the prime ministers of the French court, that were his friends, 
and concerned for his interest, they took an opportunity to re- 
mind the king of the pretensions of Labhradh to the Irish throne, 
aud desired he would be pleased to assist him in the recovery of 
bis right. The king, convinced of the justice of the cause, com- 
] lied with their request, and gave immediate orders for a body 
of 2200 choice troops to be ready, and a number of ships to trans- 
port them. With these forces Labhradh set to sea, and landed in 
the harbour of Wexford. Upon his arrival he had intelligence 
that Cobhthach Caolmbreag, who had usurped the crown, re- 
sided at that time at Didhion Riogh, where he kept his court, 
attended by his rainisters and nobility who had submitted to his 
tyranny. Labhradh resolved if possible to surprise him, and 
therefore marched with all expedition, and came upon hiai un- 
prepared, and put the old usurper and all his retinue to the 
sword. He immediately insisted upon his hereditary right, and 
was proclaimed king of Ireland. 

After he had killed the tyrant in his own court, surrounded 
by his nobles, and cut off all his favourites and attendants, the 
chronicles relate, that a certain druid, surprised at the bravery 
of this action, asked some of his retinue who was that gallant 
hero, who had the policy to design, and the courage to execute 
such an exploit ; he was answered, that the name of the general 
was Loingseach. Can Tioingseach speak 1 says the soothsayer. 



It was replied, he can ; for which reason that monarch -w; 
called by the name of Labhradh Loingseach, for Labhradh 
the Irish language signifies to speak ; and by this addition 
title was Maoin always distinguished in the history of Ireland, 
wherever he is mentioned. - 

This prince was the inventor of a sort of green-headed pari 
tisans, in the Irish called Laighne, and gave orders that they 
should be used by his whole army. From these military wea* 
pons it was that the inhabitants of the province of Gailean, 
rnw called Leinster, were known by the name of Laighne ; as 
th(L poet makes the observation in this manner : 

Two thousand and two hundred of the Gauls, 
With broad green partisans of pohsh'd steel, 
Landed at Wexford, on the Irisli coasis ; 
Fro-ri whence the province, called of old Gailean, 
Obtained the name of Leinster. 

When Labhradh had destroyed the tyrant, and fixed himself 
in quiet possession of the government, he resolved to make his 
addresses to the young princess who so generously offered him 
her love, and first inspired him with resolution to vindicate his 
right to the crown of Ireland. He therefore waited upon her 
with a noble retinue, and took his favouri*-.e, Craftine, the musi- 
cian, with him, and had the happiness to ba well received by the 
father of the lady, and they were soon u^arried with great 

Kit should be demanded why this monarch,when hewks forced 
to fly out of Ireland, chose rather to apply foi refuge to the 
French court than to retire to any other country, we are to con- 
sider, that he was nearly related by blood to the French king ; 
for it was observed before, that Ceasair Chruthach was a daughter 
of a king of France, and was married to Ugaine More, by whom 
she had two sons, Laoghaire Lorck and Cobhthach Caolmbreag ; 
and this prince, whose life we are writing, was the grandson of 
Laoghaire Lorck. Another inducement, which prevailed upon 
him to fly to France for protection, was, because there was 
a very strict league and familiar intercourse between the province 
of Leinster and the kingdom of France ; and it is observed 
that every province of Ireland maintained a correspondence with 
the country beyond the seas that was nearest to it. The 
O'i^eills were in friendship and alliance with Scotland ; the 
province of Munster with England ; the province of Ulster with 
Spain; the province of Conacht with Wale3 ; and the province 


If Leinster, as before mentioned, with the kingdom of Franc ■. 
|.'iiis friendly intercourse is taken notice of by tiio famous Toma 
) Mac Cionaire, who, in his time, was one of the principal poeta 
.lid antiquaries of the island. Tiie lines are these : 

Each of the Irish provinces observ'd 

A strict alliance with the neighbouring nations 

O'Neills corresponded with tiie Scots, 

The men of IMimster with the English, 

The inhabitants of Ulster lov'd the Spaniards, 

Of Couacht, lived in friendship with the Britons, 

Of Leinster traded safely with the French. 

We are to remark, in this place, that all the princes that go- 
eLiied the province oi Leinster, were the lineal descendants of 
iiis Irish monarch Labhradh Loingseach, except O'Nuallain, 
vho was of the posterity of Cobhthach Caolmbreag. 

From this mutual correspondence and intercourse, kept up 
between the provinces of Ireland and the neighbouring countries, 
irose that resemblance to be observed in the carriage and de- 
jortment of the Irish with the manners of those adjacent fo- 

The names of the principal families, that were to be found in 
Leinster, ar^ these following : O'Connor Falie, with all the 
oranches derived from him, who was descended from Rasa Failge, 
the eldest son of Gathaoir More ; the families of the Cavanaghs, 
the Marphys, the Tooles, in Irish O'Tuathaill, the O'Branaina, 
the O'MacgioUa Patricks, in English Fitz Patricks, the O'Dunns, 
O'Dempseys, O'Dwyres, O'Kyans, and the several descendants 
that came k'om them. The greatest part of the inhabitants of 
Leinster proceeded from Gathaoir More, bnt Macgiolla Patrick 
did not descend from him j for the branches parted in Breasal 
Breac, the son of Fiachadh Fobharaicc, fourteen generations be- 
fore Gathaoir More, including Gathaoir and Breasal. This Brea- 
sal Breac, we are to observe, had two sons, and their names were 
Lughaidh Lothfin and Gonla. Tiie province of Ulster was di- 
vided between these brothers : Lughaidh and his posterity pos- 
sessed the country from the river Bearbha eastwards ; and from 
thence westwards to Slighdhala was the portion of Gonla and 
his descendants. And this division is taken notice of in a 
very ancient poem, which begins in this manner, Naoimshean- 
chus Inis Fail. 

Lughaidh and Cohla, princes of renown 
L)eaceui.ied aom the valiant Breasal iireac: 


The men of Ossery were derived from Coiila; 

And Lughaidh, eldest of the tvv^o, began ' 

The noble family of the O'Dwyres * 

This ancieut tribe of the O'Dwyres was divided in the fifth 
(legi-ee before Cathaoir More, in this manner ; Cathaoir More 
was the son of Feidhlim Fiorurglas, son of Uormac Gealtagaoth, 
son of Niachorb, son of Cormac Gealtagaoth, son of Gonchorb, 
who had a son called Gairbre Gluthiochair, who was the great 
ancestor of this illustrious family. The tribe of the O'Kyans 
descended from Nathy, son of Criomthun, son of Eana Cinn- 
sealachj the seventh generation from Gathaoir More. From the 
second son of Ugame More, whose name was Gobhthach Caolm- 
breag, was derived the posterity in general of Sioll Guin ; and 
likewise the tribes of Fiachadh Sreabhthitie, and Eochaidh Dubh- 
lein, and all other branches of those families that descended 
from Gapa ; as will be more particularly c^bserved when the 
genealogy of the Milesians comes to be considered. 

There is a fable to be met with in the ancient manuscripts of 
Ireland, that relates to this prince Labhradh Loingseach. No 
doubt it refers to some very remarkable transactions in liis reign, 
but at this distance of time it is impossible to trace out the 
moral of it ; arvery person, therefore, is at liberty to draw what 
consequences from it he pleases : I shall transcribe it faithfully, 
observing only that some of the incidents of it are very curious, 
and because of its antiquity it may not be unworthy of a place 
in this history. 

As the story goes, therefore, this monarch, Labhradh Loing- 
seach, had ears of a very immoderate length, which resembled 
the ears of a horse ; and, to conceal this deformity from the no- 
tice of his subjects, when he had his hair cut, the person that 
served him in that office was sure to lose his life ; for he was im- 
mediately killed, lest he should discover this blemish in the king, 
and expose him to the contempt and ridicule of his people. It 
was, therefore, a custom among the hair-cutters of the kingdom, 
to determine by lots who should succeed in this desperate em- 
ployment, which always became vacant once every year ; for once 
within that time the king was constantly used to have his hair 
cut from below his ears, and by that means exposed the length 
of them to his barber. It happened that the lot to officiate in 
this post fell upon a young man, the son of a poor widow, and 
he was her only child ; the sorrowful mother apprehending the 
loss of her son, was oveiwhelrat^d with grief, and applied herself 
to the king, lamenting her miblortune, and entreating his royal 


nercy to spare her child. This moving scene had the effect to 
obtain the life of the young man ; but it was on this condition, 
that he would never divulge a secret that should be committed 
:o him, nor reveal what he should observe, under the penalty of 
■orfeiting his life. The young man joyfully complied with these 
:erms, which he thought very favourable and easy to observe, and 
3ut the king's hair ; but, when he discovered his ears, he was 
somewhat surprised, but outwardly took no notice, yet when he 
3ame home he fell desperately sick, (for secrecy it seems was ever 
X burden,) and was so oppressed with the weight of the discovery 
he made, that he would admit of no remedy, and was reduced to 
the very brink of death. His mother, sorely afflicted with this 
misfortune, applied herself for advice to an eminent druid, who 
was a physician, in the neighbourhood, who came to the youth, 
and soon perceived that his distemper was not the effect of a 
natural cause ; and examining his patient, he told him his art 
was ineffectual in his cause, for his recovery was impossible, unless 
he was disburdened of an important secret, which lay heavy upon 
him. But even the remedy was as bad as the disease, for if he 
divulged it he was sure to lose his life ; and this miserable diffi- 
culty, and the apprehension of death either way, was the true 
occasion of his sickness. The druid represented the circum stances 
of the young man to his mother, and by way of remedy, con- 
trived a method between the two extremes, that would answer the 
purpose and have the desired effect ; he observed to her, that 
though her son was under strict obligations not to discover the 
secret to any person living, yet this did not hinder but he might 
divulge and repeat it in the open air ; and therefore he advised him 
to go to a neighbouring wood, and, when he came to a meeting 
of tour highways, to turn upon the right hand, and the first tree 
that he came to, to apply his lips close to it and whisper the 
secret. The young man exactly followed the prescription of tho 
druid, and a willow tree being the first he came to, he delivered 
himself of the secret, and found immediate ease, for he soon re- 
covered of the distemper, which began to leave him in his return 

Soon after this it happened that the harp of Craftine, the 
king's principal musician, was broke, and he came to this wood 
to cut down a tree, that was proper to make him a new instru- 
ment, and by chance ' he made choice of the willow that the 
young hair-cutter had whispered the royal secret to. The musi- 
cian carried the tree home, and made a harp out of it ; and when 
it was strung and put in order, it would sound but one tunc. 


the words of which in Irish are these : Da chluais chapuil ar 
Labhradh Loingseach, which is in English, Labhradh Loin^- 
seach has the ears of a horse. This surprised the musician, and 
the fame of this wonderful instrument was carried all over the 
kingdom ; others of the same profession attempted to touch it, 
but it was always in the same tune, which so amazed the king, 
that he thought the hand of heaven was concerned in this miracle, 
which he believed was sent by the gods, who were offended at; 
his cruelty, for putting to death so many of the young men ol* 
his kingdom, only to conceal his deformity from his subjects.' 
And this reflection had that impression upon his mind, that he, 
repented of the barbarity he had used, and openly exposed his 
long ears all his life afterwards. This relation, though accord- 
ing to the letter of it, it must be false, yet I am apt to believe, 
could we come at the genuine moral of it, the circumstances of 
the fable would appear very beautiful. 

^ Meilge Malbthach got possession of the throne of Ire- 

op'^p land. He was the son of Cobhthach, son of Cobhthach 
Caolmbreagh, of the royal line of Heremon. His reigu 
continued seven years, till he was killed by Modhchorb, the 
son of Cobhthach Caomh. 
or-o Modhchorb was his successor. He was the son of 

Cobhthach Caomh, son of Eeachta Righdearg, son of 
Lughaidh Laighe, a prince of the posterity of Heber Fionn, 
He governed the kingdom seven years, and was slain by Aongus 

o/.nM Aongus Ollamh, son of Oiliolla, son of Labhradh 
* Loingseach, a descendant from Heremon, succeeded. He 
reigned eighteen years, and fell by the sword of Jeran Gleofa- 
thach, son of Meilge. 

o^qs -^aran Gleofathach was the succeeding monarch. He 
^ ' was the son of Meilge, son of Cobhthach Caolmbreagh, 
son of Ugaine More, lineally descended from Heremon. His 
reign continued seven years, and he was slain by Fearchorb, son 
of Modhchorb. The reason why he was distinguished by the 
name of Gleofathach was, because he was a person of great 
wisdom and judgment, and fine natural parts, which he im- 
proved by study, and became a very accomplished prince, 
orrrjfj Fcarchorb obtained the^ crown. He was the son of 
Modhchorb, son of Cobhthach Caomh, of the royal pos- 
terity of Heber Fionn, and governed the island eleven years. 
Tie lost his crown and his life by the sword of Conla, the son of 
J-iran Gleofathach, 



Conla Cruaidli Cealgach, son of Jaran Gleofathach, sou 
^"^^' of Meilge, son of Cobhthach Caolmbreag, son ot Ugaina 



More, a descendant from Heremon, was his successor. ^ 
lie wore the crown four years, bu1»the manner of his death is 
uot recorded in the history of the Irish monarchs. It may be sup- 
posed he died naturally, because he was succeeded by his son. 
^_.-,^ Oiliolla Caisfhiaclach, son of Conla Cruaidh Cealgach, 
'^''^ son of Jaran Gleofathach, of the royal line of Heremou, 
was the succeeding prince. He reigned over the kingdom twenty- 
five years, and was slain by Adamhar Foltchaoin, at Tara. 
o- ,pj Adamhar Foltchaoin sat next upon the throne. IIg 
'^' ' was the son of Fearchorb, son of Modhchorb, a lineal de- 
scendant from Heber Fionn, and reigned five years 
.^_^Pj Eochaidh Foltleathan succeeded. He was the son of 
oioO q^i^qIi^ Caisfhiaclach, son of Conla Cruaidh Cealgach, a 
prince of the posterity of Heremon, and was monarch of the 
island eleven years. He was slain by Feargus Fortamhuill. 
o-p-, Feargus Fortamhuill was his successor. He was the 

^' "" son of Breasal Breac, son of Aongus Gailine, son of 
Oiliolla Brachain, son of Labhradh Loingseach, descended from 
the line of Heremon, and reigned twelve years. He was known 
by the name of Feargus Fortamhuill, because he was a prince 
ot exceeding great strength of body, and brave beyond any of, 
Ills time, but fell at last by the victorious sword of Aongus 

^^„o Aongus Tuirmheach got possession of the throne. He 

^* ^ ' was the son of Eochaidh Foltleathan, son of Oiliolla 
Caisfhiaclach, of the posterity of Heremon. He governed 
the kingdom thirty years , and according to the computa- 
tion of other writers, he was monarch sixty years. He was 
distinguished by the name of Aongus Tuirmheach, on account 
of the invincible shame he conceived for violating the chastity 
of his daughter, and getting her with child. He could never 
bear to be seen publicly, he was so much concerned at that 
abominable act, though it was committed when he was overcome 
with wine. The effect of this incestuous crime was a son, whose 
name was Fiachadh Fearmara. We are to observe, that the 
word Tuirmheach, in the Irish language, signifies a sense of 
bashfulness or shame, which gave occasion to the name of that 
prince. The son the young lady bore him was called Fiachadh 
Fearmara, because he was conveyed away privately, and exposed 
in a small boat, without any attendants, to the mercy of the sea, 
but care was taken to furnish him with very vieh mantles, and 



other couveniencies j and, to defray the expense of his mainte- 
nance and education, there was a number of very valuable jewels 
laid by hira, which was a testimony of his extraction, and that 
he was a c.ild of no ordiaai-y quality. In this manner the in- 
fant was exposed, and must have perished, if the boat had not 
soon been discovered, floating on the sea, by a company of fisher- 
men, who instantly made up to it, and took out the distressed 
babe, and provided a nurse for him with all the care that tha 
meanness of their condition was capable of. This Aongua 
Tuirmheach had a son that was legitimate, whose name was Eanda 
Aighnach, from whom the tribe of SioU Cuin in general descended. 
This Irish monarch was slain at Tara.» 

Conall Callamhrach succeeded in the throne. He was 
o */xo the son ot Eidirsgeoil, son of Eochaidh Foltleathan, son 

of Oiliolla Caisfhiaclach, descended from the line of He- 
remon, and governed the kingdom five years. He was killed 
by Niadh Seadhamhuiu, a prince of the posterity of Heber Fionn. 
ooAo Niadh Seadhamhuin was his successor. He was the 

son of Adamhar Foltchaoin, son of Firchorb, descended 
from Heber Fionn, and reigned over the island seven years. In 
his reign the wild hinds would come of their own accord from 
the woods and mountains, and suffer themselves to be milked aa 
quietly as cows and the tamest cattle. They, it seems, were 
under the enchantment of a woman, who was the mother of this 
monarch, and a sorceress of distinction in those times, whose 
name was Fleidhis : but her art could not preserve the life of her 
son, for he was slain by Eanda Aighnach. 
oo^K Eanda Aighnach obtained the crown. He was the son 

of Aongus Tuirmheach Teamharach, son of Eochaidh 
Foltleathan, descended from the royal stem of Heremon, and was 
possessed of the government twenty-eight years. This prince 
was called by the additional name of Eanda Aighnach, because 
he was of a very bountiful disposition, and exceedingly munificent 
in his donations ; for the word Aighnach in the Irish language 
signifies liberal, free, and hospitable. This monarch lost his life 
by the hands of Criomhthan Crosgrach. 

ooAo Criomhthan Crosgrach filled the throne of Ireland. 
* He was the son of Feidhlim Fortruin, son of Feargus 
Fortamhuill, son of Breasal Breac, of the line of Heremon^ 
and governed the kingdom seven years. He was distin- 
guished by the titlo of Criomhthan Crosgrach, because he behaved 
with such bravery at the head of his army, that he was victo- 
rious in every battle he fought; for the Irish word Crosgraoh 



sin^nifies skuo^hter and bloodshed. He was slain By Rogerus, 
the son of Sit !iry. 

Rughraidhe, surnamed the Great, was his successor. 
oo'^r^ He was the son of Sithrighe, son of Dubh, son of Fomhar, 

son of Airgeadmhar, son of Siorlamh, son of Fionn, de- . 
Bcended from the illustrious line ot Ir, the son of Milesius, king 
of Spain. He was i^onarch of the island thirty years ; but, if 
we give credit to another computation, he sat on the throne seventy 
years, and died a natural death at Airgiodross. 
noQO Jonadhmhar, the son oi Niaseagharahuin, son oi Adam- 
' bar, derived from the princely stock of Heber Fionn, 
succeeded. He reigned three years, and lost his life by the sword 
of Breasal Bodhiabha. 
o^oo Breasal Bodhiabha fixed himself in the government. 

He was the son of Rughraidhe, son of Sithrighe, son of 
Dubh, son of Fomhar, son of Airgeadmhar, son of Siorlamh, 
descended lineally from Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain. 
He was known by the name of Breasal Bodhiabha, because, 
during his reign, a most pestilential murrain happened, which 
raged with such fury among the cows and black cattle, that most 
of them through the whole kingdom died ; for the word Bod- 
hiabha,' in the Irish language, signifies the mortality of kine or 
black cattle. This prince, after a reign of eleven years, was 
killed by Lughaidh Luaghne. 
ooQ I Lughaidh Luaghne seized upon the crown. He was 

the son of Jonadhmhar, son of Niaseaghamhuin, of the 
royal posterity of Heber Fionn, and governed the kingdom five 
years. He was slain by Congall Claringneach, 
oqqq Congall Claringi»ieach, the son of Rughraidhe, son of 

Sithrighe, son of Dubh, descended from the line of Ir, 
the son of Milesius, king of Spain, succeeded. His reign con-, 
tinned thirteen years, and he fell by the sword of Duach Dalt? 

on-|9 Duach Dalta Deaghadh was his successor. He wag 
"** the son of Carbre Loisgleathan, son of Lughaidh Lua 
ghne, son of Jonadhmhar, of the royal stock of Heber Fionn. 
He ruled the kingdom of Ireland ten years. This prince was 
distinguished by the title of Duach Dalta Deaghadh, because 
his father, Cairbre Loisgleathan, had two sons, the monarch we 
are speaking ot, whose name was Duach, and another that was 
called Deagl adh. These two brothers were princes of great va- 
lour and military conduct and equally worthy of the Irish 
throne j but the right of succession was invested in Duach, 


who was the elder brother, who therefore seized upon the sove- 
reignty, and fixed himself in possession. The younger brother, 
Deaghadh, resolved to dispute with him in the field ; and tosup- 
port his pretensions, raised an army ; but before he had put 
himself at the head of his forces, his brother, who was the reign- 
ing prince, was advertised of the treason, and sent for him to 
court, but in a friendly manner, as if he understood nothing of 
his purpose. He accordingly came, and no sooner arrived, but 
he was taken into custody, and his eyes put out, to make him 
incapable to pursue his ambitious designs ; but still he allowed 
him a handsome revenue, and maintained him like a prince all 
his lifetime. From this transaction Duach received the addi- 
tional names of Dalta Deaghadb ; for the word Dalta, in the 
Irish language, signifies a foster-father, which this prince was to 
his brother Deaghadh, by the care he took of him as long as he 
lived. But this method to secure himself in the throne could 
not defend him from the attempts of Fachtna Fathach, who 
slew him, and reigned after him. This event,' concerning the 
blindness of Deaghadh, is observed by an ancient poet in these 
lines : 

Deaghadh, invited to his brother s court, 
Inhospitably had his eyes scoop'd out ; 
His mmes did scarce deserve a milder fate, 
For treason must be punished mthout mercy. 

Fachtna Fathach was the succaediug monarch. Fe. 
on '9 9 ^^s ^^^ ^^^ ^f Rughraidhe, son of Sitrighe, son of Dubh, 
son of Fomhar, son of Airgeadmhar, a descendant from 
the line of Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain, and governed the 
kingdom eighteen years. He was known by the name of Fachtna 
Fathach, because he was a prince of great learning and wisdom, 
and possessed many excellent accomplishments. He established 
most wholesome laws for the government of his people, whom 
he ruled with signal prudence and moderation : for the Irish 
word Fathach, signifies wisdom or discretion. This monarch, 
notwithstanding his princely qualities, was slain by Eochaiati 

o^-^nj Eochaidh Feidhlioch filled the throne. He was tiia 
' son of Finn, son of Finlogha, son of Roighnein Ruadh, 
son of Easamhuin Eamhna, son of Blathachta, son of Labhr;i 
Luirc, son of Eana Aighnach, son of Aongus Tuirmheach, de- 
scended from the line of Heremon, and he governed the kingdom 
twelve years. The mother of this prince was Benia, the daugn- 

OF IRKLAXD. * 197 

ter of Criomthan ; and the reason for which he was known by 
the name of Eochaidh Feidhlioch waS; because he laboured under 
so melancholy a dejection of spirits, that he was quite oppressed 
with vapours, and would draw out his sighs to a very immode- 
rate length ; for the word Feil, in the Irish language signifies 
as much as a great length in English, and Uch or Och is the 
Irish term for a sigh, which gave occasion to his name. He con- 
tracted this sadness of mind upon the loss of three of his sons, 
who were princes of very promising hopes, but were unfortu- 
nately slain in the battle of Dromchiiadh, and the habit of 
sighing that was upon him followed him to his grave. 1'hese 
t ree brothers were called the three Fineamhnas because they 
were all born at a birth ; for the word Amaoin, in the Irish ton- 
gue, signifies to deny, for none of them ever denied the extra- 
ordinary manner of their birth, but took pleasure upon all oc- 
casions to relate the circumstances of it. The names of these 
young princes were Breas, Nar, and Lothar, and their mother v/;is 
Clothfionn, a very virtuous lady, and the daughter of Eochaidh 

This monarch, Eochaidh Feidhlioch, was the first that laid 
out the division of the Irish provinces. The province of Conacht 
he divided into three parts, between three of his favourites ; 
tiieir names were Fiodhach, son of Feig, Eochaidh Allat, and 
Tinne, the sons of Conrach ; he conferred upon Fiodhach all the 
country from a place called Fiodhach, to Limerick ; upon Eoch- 
rudh Allat he bestowed the territory from Jorrus Domhnan cmd 
Galway to Daibh and Drobhaois ; to Tinne, the son of Conrach 
I\iagh Sambh, he gave the tract of land that extends from Fiod- 
Ijach to Teamhair Broghaniadh ; he likewise gave him possession 
of all the ancient territories of Taodin. Feargus, the son of 
Leigh e, was settled by his authority in the province of Ulster : 
he invested Rossa, the son of Feargus Fairge, in the province of 
J.einster ; the two provinces of Munster he bestowed upon Tigh- 
ei nach Teadhbheamach and Deagbadah ; and this division and 
investiture of the country continued during his whole reign. 

Eochaidh, after he had thus divided the kingdom, went into 
Conacht, for he determined to erect a royal palace in that pro- 
vince, and there to keep his court. Upon his arrival he sum- 
moned the three petty princes of the province to attend him, 
aud, informing them of his design, required that they should 
agree upon a proper place for the building of this fabric, where 
he resolved to fix his residence. Two of these princes, Eochaidh 
Ajlat, and Fiodh^.idh, absolutely refused to comply with hU 


demand, and told him to his face, that the revenue which be 
longed to their share of the country, and what taxes and con- 
tributions fell to them, they would pay as usual into the royal 
exchequer at Tara ; but the third prince, who was Tinne, the 
son of Conrach, being a courtier, made an offer of any part of 
his country for the king to build upon ; which compliance of his 
so pleased the king, that he bestowed upon him his daughter, a 
very beautiful lady, whose name was Meidhbh, whom he soon 
married, with the consent of the princess ; and in a short time 
he had, by the nobleness of his carriage, and his other princely 
accomplishments, so recommended himself to the favour and es- 
teem of the king, that he conceived a very great affection lor 
him, and admitted him in all his councils of state, made an in- 
violable league and friendship with him, and advanced him to 
be prime minister of the kingdom. 

It being agreed that a royal palace should be erected in the 
province of Conacht, the king consulted with his druids and 
soothsayers what parts of the country would be most propitious 
lor the undertaking. They immediately had recourse to their 
art, and Ibund that Druin na ndruagh now called Cruachan, was 
tlie most proper and fortunate place for this royal building. The 
plan was drawn by the most eminent architects, and they set 
about the work with such application, that the ditch, which was 
very large and to surround the whole pile, was finished within 
the compass of one day. This fabric went under the name of 
Kath Eochaidh, and was likewise called Rath Cruachan. 

Upon the marriage of Tinne with this Irish princess, the king 
bestowed upon him the sovereignty over all the province of Co- 
nacht, and made him the king of it : and a difference arising be- 
tween him and one of the petty princes, Eochaidh Aliat, he slew 
him in an engagement, and gave away his share of the province 
to Oilioll Fionn. Meidhbh who was called queen of Conacht, 
made a present of the palace of Rath Eochaidh to her mother, 
whose name was Cruachan Crodhearg ; from whom that royal 
structure changed its name, and is called Rath Cruachan to this 
day. This transaction is delivered down to posterity, by a very 
ancient poet, in this manner : 

The royal palace of Eath Eochaidh, 

"Was called DruimDruagh and Tuluig Aidhne; 

But afterwards obtained a nobler name, 

Of Eath Cruachan, from the virtuous lad> 

Cruachan Crodheari^-. 


Tinne, the son of Conrach, reigned with his queen Meidhbh 
for many years over the province of Conacht, but he was at last 
slain at Tara, by Monuidhir, otherwise called Maceacht. After 
liis decease Meidhbh administered the government for ten years ; 
then she married Oilioll More, the son of Rossa Ruadh, who came 
out of Leinster ; but it is supposed he was born in Conacht, for 
his mother, whose name was Matha Muireasg, was originally a 
- lady of that province ; she bore seven sons to Oilioll More, who 
were distinguished by the name of the seven Maine ; her husband 
was at length run through with a lance by Conall Cearnach, not- 
withstanding he was of a great age. The place where this act 
was committed was Cruachan ; but the inhabitants, and the 
neighbouring people were so alarmed at this murder, that the 
whole country of Cotiacht were up in arms, and made so close a 
pursuit after Conall Cearnach, that they overtook and killed him, 
ill revenge ior the death of Oilioll More, who was very much 
esteemed in that province. 

After the death of Oilioll More the government returned a 
second time into the hands of Meidhbh ; and, whilst she was a 
widow, and the queen of Conacht, there arose a most unhappy 
difference between her subjects and the inhabitants of Ulster, 
over which province Connor was then king. This contest broke 
out into open hostilities, and occasioned a long war. But to 
give a particular relation of these occurrences, I am obliged 
to trace the account of them to the very beginning, and to par- 
ticularly take notice of the death of the three sons of Visneach, 
wliich was the true cause that gave birth to these fatal commo- 

Connor, who at that time was possessed of the government of 
IJlster, being invited to a splendid entertainment at the house 
of one Feidhlim, the son of'Doill, principal secretary of state to 
the king, it happened that the wife of Feidhlim fell in labour 
and was delivered of a daughter. An eminent di'uid, that al- 
ways attended the king's person, being present at the feast, by 
liis prophetic skill foretold, that the child just born should occa- 
sion great disturbances in the province of Conacht, and turn 
the government into confusion. This prediction surprised the 
nobility and the great officers that waited upon the king, who 
unanimously advised, that the public welfare required that the 
child should be immediately destroyed. But Connor opposed 
this resolution, and persuaded them to spare the lii^ of the in- 
f tnt ; for that he would take care to disappoint the accomplish" 
mont of the propheov. by breedino- up the child under his own 

200 THE GE^iilKAi^ HlBTOiiY 

inspection, and, perhaps, when she arrived at maturity of years 
he might think it proper to make her his wife ; by which means 
he diverted the nobles from their purpose, and preserved the 
child ; and, as he undertook the education of the girl, immedi- 
ately removed her from her father's house, and carried her to 
his own court. Tiie druid insisted upon the truth and authority 
of liis prediction, and called the child by the name of Deirdre. 

To secure the infant, and to prevent the consequences of the 
druid's prophecy, the king conveyed her to one of the strongest, 
garrisons in his province, and placed her in a well fartified tower, 
almost inaccessible ; and gave strict orders, that none should bo 
admitted within the child's apartment but her necessary attend- 
ants, and a woman, who was the favourite of the king's, whos3 
name was Leabharcham. This woman, wh(* was a great po^f-ess, 
and could deliver verses extempore on any subject, was muca 
respected by the nobility of the country. 

Within the walls of this castle was the young Deirdre con- 
fmed till she became marriageable j and as she grew up she ap- 
peared to be a lady of singular beauty, and those who had the 
care of her education had been so ikithiul to their trust, that 
Rhe was the* most genteel and accomplishei person in the whole 

It happened that, as Deirdre and her governess were iooking^ 
out of the window, upon a snowy day, they saw a slaughter-man 
of the garrison killing a calf, for the use of her table, and some 
of the blood fell upon the snow, when a raven came and fed upon 
it. This sight occasioned a strange passion in the young lady, 
for notwithstanding her confinement she was of a very amorous 
disposition, and, turning to Leabharcham, '* Oh," says she," that 
I could but be so happy as to be in the arms of a man, who 
was of the three colours I now see ; I mean, who had a skin as 
white as the driven snow, hair as shining black as the feathers 
oi a raven, and a blooming red in his cheeks as deep as the calt'a 
blood." Her governess was at first surprised at this uncommon 
wish ; but, out of tenderness to the young lady, for whom she 
had an unalterable aftection, she told her, that there was a young 
gentleman, belonging to the court, exactly agreeing with that 
description, whose name was Naois, the son ot Visneach, Deir- 
dre began immediately to be in love with him, and begged of Leab- 
harcham that she \Vould contrive a method to bring him pri- 
vately into the castle, and introduce him into her apartment, 
lor she was passionately charmed with his features and complex- 
ion, and was in torment till she saw liim. The indulgent 

OP IRELAND. . 201 

governess promised she would ease her of her pain upon the first 
opportunity ; and in a short time found means to inform Naois, 
the young gentleman, of the love of the lady ; and assured him, 
that if he had gallantry enough to venture his person, she would 
find means to convey him into the tower, and give him posses- 
sion of one of the finest women in the world. It was impossible 
lor the young Naois to withstand so generous an offer ; and soon 
after, by the policy of Leabharcham, he got within the garrison, 
and was convej^ed into the lady's chamber, where after many 
endearm^ents, and solemn protestations of love, she entreated 
that he would deliver her from confinement, and remove iier 
out of the castle. 

The lover promised he would release her, or die in the at- 
tempt ; but the enterprise was of the utmost danger, for the 
tower was well fortified, and strictly guarded. He therefore 
communicated his design to his brothers Ainle and Ardan, who 
generously resolved to support him, and, with the assistance of 
150 resolute soldiers, they surprised the garrison, and carried off 
the damsel. They immediately left the country, and fled to 
the sea coasts, and upon the first opportunity they went on 
board, and arrived safely in Scotland. 

Upon their arrival the king of Scotland received them hospi- 
tably ; and when he understood the quality of his new gaests, 
he settled a revenue upon JSTaois and his followers ; but he wa^ 
soon informed of the beauty of the young lady, which left such 
an impression upon him tliat he resolved to force her from the 
arms of her husband, and, if he met with opposition, to run the 
utmost hazard to obtain her. Naois was made acquainted with 
his design, -and put himself into a posture of defence. There 
were many skirmishes and engagements between the king's 
troops and the Irish, but at last Naois was forced to fly, and 
with his wife and followers got possession of an adjacent island, 
expecting to be instantly attacked. In this distress he sent to 
some of his friends, among the nobility of Ulster, for a supply 
of forces ; and his request was so favourably received, that the 
principal nobility of the province interceded with king Connor 
that they should be relieved, and have liberty to return to their 
own country ; for they said it would be barbarous to suffer the 
three sons of Visneach to be destroyed upon the account of a 
lewd woman. Connor seemingly consented, and complied with 
this representation oi his nobles, and, as a testimony that he 
had no treacherous design upon the three brothers when they 
returned, condescended to deliver two of his fiavourites into the 


liaiids of some of the friends of Naois, and his followers, as hos- 
tages for their security. The names of these two princes were 
Feargus, the son of E,oigh, and Cormac Conloingios. Depend- 
ing upon the honour and sincerity of the king, Feargus, the son 
of Roigh, sent his own son, with a sufficient number of forces, 
to relieve Naois, which was soon accomplished ; and he brought 
Naois, his wife, his brothers and followers with him, safely into 
Ireland, I 

The king, when he had notice of their landing, despatched 
Eogan, the sou of Durtheacht, who was the principal com- 
mander of Fearmoighe, to conduct the three brothers to Eam- 
hain ; but gave him secret orders to fall upon them in the way, 
and kill every man of them. Eogan met with the sons of Vis- 
neach in the plains of Eamhain j and, when he fixed his eyes 
upon Naois, who was in the front, he advanced towards him, 
as if he designed to salute and congratulate him upon his return 
CO Ulster, but he suddenly thrust him through with a spear, 
and he fell dead upon the spot. This action was so treacherous 
in itself, and was so resented by Fiachadh, the son of Feargus, 
who was sent to assist those distressed Irish, and bring them 
into their own country, that he attacked Eogan with all his 
might, but with ill fortune to himself, for he was thrust through 
the body, and died instantly. Animated with this success, 
Eogan, who was, it must be confessed, a person ot singular bra- 
very, fell upon the two brothers, the remaining sons of Visneach, 
and slew them likewise, and routed all the forces they had, then 
seizing upon the unfortunate Deirdre, he carried her to the 
court of Connor, the king of Ulster. 

One of the two hostages for the kifig's honour, whose name 
was Feargus, the son of Roigh, was so incensed at this breach 
of faith, that he resolved to revenge it upon the king, especially 
because his son Fiachadh, who was sent to conduct those dis 
tressed Irish, was treacherously slain. He communicated his 
design to Dubtljaig, who accepted of the proposal; accordingly 
they raised a large body of resolute troops, and advanced 
towards Eamhain, where the king was. Connor was not to be 
surprised, therefore opposed them with all his forces, and a most 
bloody fight followed, wherein Maine, one of the king's sons, 
was killed, with 300 of his choicest men, and the flo^je^of all 
his army. This defeat gave the victors an opportunity .^seize 
upon the palace of Eamhain, which they plunde>0d, aiid put 
al! they met to the sword, not sparing the ladies of the seraglio, 
whom the king kept for his own pleasure. 



Cormao Oonloingios, we have observed, was the other hostage. 
He hkewise raised a body of stout men among his friends, to the 
number of 3000, and marched with them into the province of 
Conacht, then under the government of Queen Meidhbh. From 
this queen they met with kind reception, and continued under 
her protection for some time ; but in the night they would send 
strong detachments into the province of Ulster, to burn and 
ravage the country, which they harassed with such dreadful hos- 
tilities, that the inhabitants, and the fruits and provisions of 
the whole province, were in a manner all destroyed by fire and 
sword. The country of Crioch Cuailgne particularly suffered 
in these calamities, which was the cause of those contests and 
heart-burnings kept up between the two provinces for seveu 
years afterwards. 

During the time of those provincial wars it was, that Feargus, 
tlie son of Roigh, found means to insinuate himself into the 
affections of Meidhbh, the queen of Conacht, who proved with 
child by him, and was delivered of three boys at a birth. The 
names of these three princes were Ciar, Core, and Conmac j as 
the poet has long since related in this manner. 

Tke valiant prince, Feargus, son of Roigh • 

Was master of the charms of Meidhbh Cruachna, 
"Wlio bore him three sons, whose names in history- 
Axe Ciar, Core, and Conmac. 

From these three brothers it is certain, that some families of 
principal distinction in Ireland derive their extraction. Ciar, 
the eldest brother, gave name to Ciaruidh, that is, Kerry, in the 
province of Munster : and the excellent O'Connor, of Kerry, is 
a descendant of some of his posterity. Corcamruidh was so 
called from Core, and from him is derived the illustrious O'Con- 
nor, of Corcamruidhe ; and from Conmac sprang all the worthy 
families of the Comaicnies, in Conacht. And to illustrate this 
with more authority, I refer to a very ancient poem, composed 
by Lughair, an eminent poet and antiquary, the first verse be- 
gins thus, Clann Feai*gusa clann os Cach ; where it appears evi- 
dently, that the three sons of Meidhbh obtained possessions and 
authority, as well in the province of Conacht, as in Munster, 
which may be farther proved by observing, that the countries 
in th:Ose two provinces are known by the names of these princes 
to this day. 

The unfortunate Deirdre, who, as the prediction foretold, was 
the unhappy occasion of all these calamities, was confined by 


Connor, the king of Ulster, one whole year, after the death of 
her husband and the tribe of Visneach ; in which time she was 
so afflicted with the loss of her beloved Naois, that she was per- 
fectly inconsolable ; she never raised up her head, nor was seen 
to smile, but was almost distracted with giief, and would admit 
of no comfort. The king was moved with a sense of her mis. 
fortunes, for she was beautiful in her tears, and, after he had 
tried in vain to mitigate her sorrow, he sent for the perfidious 
Eogan, son of Durcheacht, the chief commander of Fearmoighe. 
who was the executioner of her husband, and to torment her the 
more, made a present of her to him, to be used at his pleasure. 
She was immediately put into the chariot along with him, who 
resolved to carry her to one of his seats in the country,, there 
to be confined a close prisoner. The cruel Connor vouchsafed 
to ride a few miles with his favourite general, in order to secure 
his prey, which so enraged the distracted Deirdre, that she took 
an opportunity to discover her anger, by looking upon them 
both with such sternness and indignation, that the king took no- 
tice of her, and told her, that the cast of her eyes between them 
two was like the look of a sheep between two rams. This re- 
mark so incensed the poor lady, that she started out of the cha- 
riot, and fell with such :violence upon her head that she beat out 
her brains, and instantly died. And th^ is the account given 
by the records of Ireland, concerning tlfe banishment of Fear- 
gus, the son of Roigh, of Cormac Conloingios and Dubthaig 
Daoluladh, and the miserable death of the unfortunate Deirdre. 
We have observed before, that Connor was king of Ulster 
at the time when Meidhbh was possessed of the government of 
Cona-cht ; which province was under the power of that princess 
for many years, for she reigned after the death of Tinne, son of 
Conrach, who was her first husband, ten years ; she was the wife 
of OilioU More eight years, and, after his decease, continued 
eight years a widov^^, but at last was slain by Ferbhuidhe, the 
son of Connor. This princess's reign was ennobled by many 
memorable transactions, and produced many eminent personages, 
whose brave exploits deserve a place in this history. I shall, 
therefore, for the sake of posterity, give an account of some of 
their heroic exploits and military achievements ; and to observe 
an order in this relation, I am obliged to take notice of the 
death of Connor, king of Ulster, which was brought about in 
this manner. 

OF IRELAXD. . 205 


It was one of the commendable customs oi the ancient Irish 
to encourage tlie youth of the kingdom, and train them up in a 
jaiilitary life, that they might defend their country in time of dis- 
tress, and make conquests, and become formidable abroad. To 
incite their valour, and to inspire them with generous and war- 
like sentiments, it was established, that whoever was the victor 
in single combat, should be distinguished with the spoils of the 
vanquished as a trophy and testimony of his bravery. This 
honour and encouragement was the occasion of violent contests 
and disputes, and stirred up an emulation in the minds of the 
youth, which seldom ended without duelling and bloodshed. The 
principal heroes in these times, were Connall Cearnach, Cong- 
cuillin, and Laoghre Buadhach, in Eamhain. The first of these 
champions insisted upon a pre-eminence above the other two ; and 
to convince them that te was of superior courage, he commanded 
the brains of a great soldier, called Meisgeadhra, to be brought as 
an evidence of his merits : this Meisgeadhra had the character of 
one of the bravest persons in the island, and had distinguished 
himself upon all occasions, but was killed in a trial of skill, by 
Connall Cearnach. Congcuiilin and Laoghre Buadhach being 
satisfied of the truth of this victory, submitted, and gave up their 
pretensions to the laurel ^ for they thought it in vain to contend 
with so illustrious a champion, who had slain the best swordsmaa 
of the age. 

The reason v/hy tliis great hero called for the brains of his 
adversary, in proof of his courage, was, in compliance with a re- 
markable custom in those times, that whenever a champion over- 
came his adversary in single combat, he took out his brains, and, 
by mixing them with lime, made a round ball, which by drying 
in the sun became exceeding solid and hard, and was always 
yroduced in public meetings and conventions, as an honourable 
iistinctiou, and a trophy of experienced valour and certain vic- 

At this time it happened that there were two natural fools be- 
Wiging to the court of Connor, king of Ulster ; and this prince, 
having in his possession one of these noble badges, made of the 
brains of Meisgeadhra, took great care to preserve it, which the fools 
taking notice of, supposed it to' be of great value, and therefore 
resolved to steal it out of the palace. This trophy was then 
lodged in one of the royal seats of Ulster called Craobh Dhearg 
Besides this there woi-e three stal.eiv fabrics in that province • 


tlie priiicipal was the palace of Eamhain, where the kings of 
Ulster generally resided and kept their court. Adjoining to 
this stately fabric was the lodge of Teagh na Craoibhe Kuadhe, 
which, in English, signifies the house of the red branch, where 
the most renowned champions lodged their arms, and hung up 
their honourable trophies, and the spoils they had taken in the 
wars, when they came off victorious over foreign enemies. The 
third building of note was the royal hospital of Broinbhearg, 
which signifies the house of sorrow and affliction ; for here the 
sick and wounded were provided for and supported till they were 
perfectly cured. The champions, whose trophies and arms were 
placed in the palace of Teagh na Craoibhe Kuadhe, were distin- 
guished by the title of Champions of the red branch, and were 
tuown by that name in foreign countries; for they were a mili- 
tary order of brave soldiers, whose courage had obtained them, 
an honotirable character over all the western part of the world. 
9 This palar^^ being the place appointed to preserve the most 
Trainable jewll^ and monumental trophies of the kingdom, this 
ball of brains was there laid up for security ; but the two fools 
above-mentioned, observing where it was, found means to con- awaA^ undiscovered. When they had it in their possession, 
they imnmliately we\it to the green of Eamhain, and began to 
play and divert themselves, by tossing it in the air from one to 
anotlj^r. As they were sporting upon the green/^^a very eminent 
hero of those times, ^whose name was Ceat, the son of Magach, 
happene'd to come by. This champion belonged to the province 
of Conacht, and was an implacable enemy to the government of 
Ulster ; he rode up to the fools, and, finding they were diverting 
themselves with one of these military trophies, he prevailed upon 
them to give him the ball, which he carried with him into his 
own province. \ 

The contests and disputes among the men of Ulster and the in- 
habitants of Conacht> broke out some time before into open hosti- 
lities, and there were many battles fought between the two pro- 
vmces j and this Ceat, by way of insult to his enemies, when he came 
into the field, would threaten them with this ball of brains, which 
he always tied to his belt, and which, according to an old pre- 
diction, was some time or other to be of fatal consequence to the 
provmce of Ulster. The prophecy it seems foretold that M eis- 
geadhra, of whose brains this ball was composed, should, after 
his death, be fully revenged upon the men of Ulster, for the in- 
dignities he had suffered from them ; and Ceat, obtaining this 
trot/hy by stratagem, alw^ays wore it about him, being persuaded 


that the prediction would b^ accomplished by him; for he resolved 
upon the .first opportunity to enter the lists with the boldest 
champion of Ulster, and this ball of brains was the weapon he 
chiefly designed to use in the combat. 

The war was still carried on with vigour between the two 
princes, and Ceat, at the head of a powerful army, made incur- 
sions, entering the province of Ulster with fire and sword, plun- 
dered the country, and drove away all their cattle. These hos- 
tilities enraged Connor, who drew together all his forces, and, 
supported by a well disciplined army, marched with all possible 
expedition towards the enemy, and resolved to give them battle. 
By this time Ceat had received a choice body of recruits from 
the province of Conacht, and with these reinforcements he drew 
up, and both armies were prepared to engage. 

But Ceat was unwilling to come to a decisive battle with Con^ 
nor, and therefore contrived a statagem to surprise and destroy 
him without fighting. It seems that most of > the principal 
ladies of Conacht were standing upon the top of a hill, viewing 
the two armies, expecting the event of the battle. It was re- 
solved that these women should send a messenger to Connor, as 
if they had something of importance to communicate, and de- 
sired he would be pleased . to come to them ; for no danger 
could be apprehended from a company of women, and therefore 
his person was secure. Connor being a prince of great gallan- 
try, fell into the snare, and accepted the invitation ; confidijg 
iu the honour of the ladies, with great indiscretion, he" went to 
the top of the hill, without his guards, and unattended. He 
immediately paid his compliments to the ladies, but the trea- 
cherous Ceat had found a way to conceal himself in the com- 
pany, and, observing his opportunity, placed his ball, of braina 
in a sling, with a design to discharge it at the king^ of Ulster, 
and so by killing him put an end to the war ; but (5onnor per- 
ceiving the viliany, immediately retired towards his forces. 
Ceat pursued him close, and, overtaking him at Doire da Bha- 
oith, he let fly, and was so sure of his mark, that he hit Connor 
full on his head, and broke his skull. His army, perceiving him 
in this distress, hastened to relieve him, which forced Ceat to 
make his way towards his troops, and so by flight preserved his 

The ball of brains made a contusion in the head of Connor, 
and when one of the principal surgeons was sent for, whose name 
was Fighnin Faithaig, he found that the wound was of danger- 
ous consequence, though, if the nobles would give their consent, 


he promised to use the utmost of his skill in the operation, and, 
if possible, to preserve his life. The uobility and principal offi- 
cers that were attending, readily agreed to this proposal ; for 
they said that the happiness of the whole province depended 
upon the king's life, and they were sensible that, though the sa- 
cred person of the king must be hazarded in the attempt, yet a 
desperate case would admit of no cure but what was desperate. 
The wound, however, was in a short time cured, by the care and 
skill of this surgeon : but it had such effect upon the brain, 
that, upon the least passion or heat of the spirits, it was in dan- 
ger of breaking out again, and a relapse might be attended with 
very fatal consequences. Fighnin, therefore, thought it his duty 
to represent the truth of the case to Connor, and advised him, 
in a submissive manner, to avoid all immoderate exercise, that 
might disorder or put his blood into a ferment, particularly not 
to ride hard, or be incontinent any way, but to keep his spirits 
cool and in a proper motion. 

The king strictly observed the directions of the surgeon ; for 
the violence of heat or passion would force the wound open, 
and by that means bring his life into the utmost danger ; 
and in this state Connor continued for seven years, to the great 
joy of his subjects, till (as some of the Irish chronicles, though 
of no great authority, assert) the Friday on which our Sa^ iour 
was crucified ; and then the king, being surprised at the dread- 
ful and supernatural eclipse, and shocked at the horrid dark- 
ness and convulsion of nature, that followed the death of the 
Son of God, consulted with one Bacrach, an eminent druid of 
Leinster, to know the occasion and design of that wonderful 
event. The pagan prophet replied, that the cause of those 
strange and violent alterations arose from a barbarous murder 
that day committed by the wicked Jews, upon a most innocent, 
and divine person, Jesus Christ, the Son of the everlasting God. 
The king resented that inhuman act with such passion, that he 
cried out, if he were a spectator of the villany, he would be 
revenged upon those barbarous Jews, who had the insolence to 
destroy his Lord, the Son of the great God of the whole earth. 
He immediately drew his sword, and went to an adjacent grove, 
and, distracted almost to madness at the thoughts of that abo- 
minable act, he hacked and cut the trees, protesting, if he were 
in the country of the Jews where this holy person was executed, 
he would be revenged upon his murderers, and chop them to 
pieces as he did those trees ; and by the violence of his anger, 
his blood and spirits were diisordered and fermented, which hdd 


tbiit effect, that the woHnd burst open, and some of his bruins 
followed, so that he died upon the spot. The grove of trees 
where this accident happened was called Coill Lamhruadhe, from, 
the hand of this Connor, king of Ulster. 

After the death of this prince there was some dispute about 
the succession, which was at last accommodated by this resolu- 
tion, that whoever would undertake to carry the body of Connor 
from the place where it lay to the "palace of Eamhain, without 
resting by the way, should succeed to the throne of Ulster. 
This proposal worked upon the ambition of a footman that be- 
longed to the deceased king, whose name was Ceann Bearruidhe, 
whO; encouraged with the prospect of wearing a crown, resolved to 
try his fortune, though he died in the attempt ; and therefore 
he took the body, that was of a great weight, upon his shoulders, 
but when he came to the top of Sliabh Faaid, he sunk under 
the burden, for his heart was broke, and he died instantly. And 
from this transaction there arose a proverbial saying in the 
country, when a person undertakes a trust or charge upon him- 
self that he is unable to manage, he miscarried like the govern- 
ment of Ceann Bearruidhe, whose ambition put him upon this 
desperate attempt, which cost him his life. 

But the authors, who deliver this account of Connor, king of 
Ulster, are not to be respected, when they contradict the more 
solemn testimony of the Irish records, which assert directly that 
Connor was dead long before the birth of Christ. It must be 
confessed that some circumstances of the above-mentioned rela- 
tion are supported by good authority ; for it is certain that 
Bacrach, a famous druid of Leiuster, did prophecy to the people 
of that province, and foretel that a most hoty and divine person 
should be born in a wonderful manner, and be barbarously mur- 
dered by the great council of his own nation, notwithstanding 
his design of coming into the world was for the happiness and 
salvation of the whole earth, and to redeem them from the delu- 
sions and tyranny of infernal demons, whose office was to tor- 
ture them with insupportable pains in a future state. And 
these cruel and ungrateful indignities, that were to be offered to 
this innocent and god-like man, made such an impression upon 
Connor, that he was overcome with indignation and resentment, 
and, drawing his sword, he hacked and chopped the wood like a 
person distracted, which so inflamed his spirits that the ball of 
brains dropped off, and he fell down dead. But the death of 
this king happened long before Christ was born, and therefore 
that circumstance of the history must be false. 


If it should be thought incredible that a pagau prophet should 
be so inspired as to foretel the birth and the crucifixion of 
Christ, I desire that it might be considered that Almighty God, 
to accomplish the ends of His all-wise designs, might, if He 
pleased, vouchsafe such a measure of inspiration to a pagan as 
to be able to deliver such a prediction ; and, as an evidence 
upon this occasion, the oracles of those heathen prophetesses 
called sybils will prove that the circumstances of Christ's birth 
and passion have been foretold by those who knew nothing of 
the true God, but lived in tiie dark ages of ignorance and ido- 


This Ceat was the general over the army of Conacht, and 
was one of the most celebrated ch'i,mpions of those times ; he 
seldom failed of victory when he engaged, and was so inveterate 
an enemy to the men of Ulster, that by his frequent inroads 
and cruelties he had almost ruined the whole province. He 
plundered and spoiled the country wherever he came, and so 
harassed the inhabitants, that his name was a terror to them ; 
lor he had often routed them in the field, and under his. op- 
pression they became a miserable and dispirited people. It 
happened that this hero of Conacht made incursions into Ulster 
in the time of winter, when the country was covered with deep 
snow ; he had met with some opposition, but after many skir- 
mishes and engagements he obtained his purposes, and by his 
conduct and bravery was returning home loaden with spoils. 
In this expedition he had fought three of the stoutest champions 
of Ulster, and killed them in single combat, and designed to 
carry their heads with him into Conacht, but in his march he 
was pursued by Connall Cearnach, who overtook him at Ath- 
ceitt, and offering him battle, a most bloody action followed, in 
which Ceat was slain by the general of Ulster ; but he sold his 
l:fe dearly, for in the engagement Connall himself was so despe- 
rately wounded, and lost so much blood, that he fell down in a 
swoon, upon the very spot where the combat was fought. In 
tliis fainting state he was found by another renowned swords- 
man of Conacht, whose name was Bealchu Breifne, who, per- 
ceiving the wounds of one of the combatants, and that the other 
was killed outright, was pleased with the sight, and said that he 
never received more satisfaction in his lifetime than he enjoyed 

OF IRhlLAXD. , 211 

at present ; for two implacable oompetitors, whose ambition had 
involved the whole kingdom of Ireland in confusion, and had 
occasioned so much bloodshed, were destroyed by one another, 
and met with a fate suitable to their deserts. Connall was "so 
incensed by being insulted in this manner, that he desired Beal- 
chu to despatch him at once out of his misery, for his reflections 
were insupportable ; and he chose rather to die by his hand, 
because it would vindicate and raise his character, for then it 
could not be said, with justice, that he fell by the sword of one 
man, but two champions of Conacht overcame him. But Beal- 
chu generously spared his life, and with great honour assured 
him that he would not only give him his life, which he thought 
could not continue long, but he would endeavour to recover him 
of his wounds, and, when he was perfectly cured, he would fight 
him in single combat, and give him satisfaction ; and accord- 
ingly he saved him from the fury of the soldiers, and took him 
with him in his chariot. The most eminent surgeons of the 
kingdom were ordered to attend him, and to take care of his 
wounds, which by proper skill and application were soon healed, 
and Connall obtained his perfect health. 

But Bealchu observing that Connall so suddenly recovered, 
and enjoyed his full strength and former activity, was afraid to 
fight him fairly, but resolved to dispatch him another way ; and 
accordingly he fixed upon his own sons for the executioners, who 
by agreement were to surprise him in the dead of the night, and 
murder him in his bed. But Connall was acquainted with this 
treacherous design soon enough to prevent it ; and therefore 
upon the night when this barbarous act was to be committed, 
he boldly addressed himself to Bealchu, and desired him to change 
beds with him, or he would instantly take away his life. Bealchu 
was unwilling to gratify his request ; but, when he considered 
the case, he complied, and accordingly went to the bed where 
Connall lay, and Connall removed into his bed. In the night 
tlie ruffians entered the room, and fell upon their own father 
through mistake, and killed him. Connall, observing his oppor- 
tunity, rushed upon them by surprise, and slew the three bro- 
thers. He took their heads and that of their father along with 
him, and soon after arrived at the palace of Eamhain, where he 
related the particulars of the adventure, and exposed the heads 
of his enemies, as infallible proofs of his courage and success. 
This transaction is transmitted to posterity, by a very old poet, 
iu this manner : 


' Connall Cearnach was renowned in arrnsi, 

And, with a courage not to be subdued, 

He fell upon the ruftians in the chamber, 

Three brothers, sons of Bealchu Breifne, 

* And slew them all. 

Til this manner died Bealchu Breifne, who was a person of 
great bravery, and his three sons, who were to be the executioners 
of the illustrious Connall ; and the account which I have given, 
contains likewise the particulars of Ceat's death, the son of Ma- 
gaoh. I could set off this history with many great actions in 
chivalry, performed by this valiant knight Connall, what combats 
he fought, and victories he won, were it consistent with my pre- 
sent design ; but I observe, in short, that the Irish records make 
very honourable mention of this champion, and speak of him 
with the greatest applause, as the best swordsman, and the in- 
vincible hero of the western world. 


It has been observed before, that Feargus underwent a volun- 
tary exile in the province of Conacht, and retired to Oilioll and 
Meidhbh at the royal castle of Mayeo. During his banishment 
it happened that the king and queen and their guest were W^lk • 
ing, in the summer season,, upon the bank of a lake that was 
near the palace ; Oilioll desired Feargus to strip himself, and di- 
vert him by swimming the lake, Feargus complied, and when he 
was undressed he plunged into the water. The sight of so comely 
a person naked had that effect upon the queen, that she longed 
to be near him, and desired leave from her husband to bathe 
herself, for the weather was exceeding hot, and promised to bathe 
in a secret and distant part of the lake. He thought himself 
secure of the honour of his wife, and therefore, to please her 
humour, he gave his consent. She immediately retired to a pri- 
vate place, and, after having undressed, jumped in ; but, being 
very expert in swimming, she could not though in the sight of 
her husband, forbear approaching the gallant Feargus, which so 
enraged the jealous Oilioll, that he commanded a kinsman of his, 
who was one of the retinue, to throw a partisan, that he had 
in his hand with all his violence at Feargus ; which he did 
with such dexterity, that he wounded him sorely in the body, but 
did not disable him from naaking to shore, though the wound 
was exceeding painful, and proved mortal. When he came 

OP IRELAND. 2 1 3 

to land he tAvisted the spear out of his body, and flung it with 
all his might at OilioU, but missed his mark, and pierced a 
greyhound to the ground, that stood near the chariot of the king 
so that it died upon the spot. Feargus, after he had thrown 
the javelin, fainted with the loss of blood, and, falling to the 
ground, immediately expired, and was buried upon the bank of the 
lake. This unfortunate prince was a person of consummate 
courage, and had exerted himself often with applause in single 
combat and the field of battle. He it was that killed Fachtna, 

, the son of Connor ; and those formidable champions, Geirgin, 
the son of Nialladha, and Owen, the son of Durtheachta, the 
brave commander of Fearmoighe, felt the metal of his sword. 
He likewise foiled many resolute swordsmen, whose names, and 
the accounts of their combats, it would be tedious to mention : 
but we are not to forget what rich spoils he brought away from 
Ulster, and how he ravaged and sacked the country, and over- 
run the province with fire and sword, 'insomuch, that the cala- 
mities he brought upon the people of Ulster were not repaired 
in many years ; for the strangers, who followed the fortune o( 

^this prince, were for seven, or as others assert, ten years plun- 
dering the country, which reduced the inhabitants to the extre- 
mest misery. These incursions were occasioned by the treach- 
erous death of the sons of Visneach, who were barbarously slain ; 
which cruelty the men of Conacht undertook to revenge, bat 
they met with great opposition in their hostilities, for the forces 
of Ulster would often penetrate into the province of Gonacht, 
and captivate the people, and carry ofiP very considerable booty. 
This enmity and heart-burning produced perpetual wars between 
the two provinces, which were waged with different success, but 
brought such insupportable calamities upon the people, that 
whole volumes have been written upon the miseries that at- 
tended these commotions ; but the nature of this history will 
not admit of a particular account, but requires other matters 
to be considered of more importance to the present design. 


That famous prince, Connor, king of Ulster, retained a poet 
in his court, whose name was Hugh, the son of Ainin, who was 
suspected to bQ..very intimate with the queen, and to hold a cri- 
minal correspondence with her. This intrigue was discovered at 
length to the king, who, enraged at the baseness of the action, 


gave immediate orders that the poet should be drowned in a 
pond that was adjacent to the house of Laoghaire Buadhaig. 
The command was instantly obeyed, and tl ^ poet was seized 
and designed for execution, but tiie principal shepherd of Laog- 
haire was resolved to prevent the sentence, and boldly asked the 
guards that attended, whether they could find no place more 
proper to drown the poet than before the door of his master, and 
declared he would prevent it as far as his life went, because it 
would occasion a fright, and give great offence to the family. 
Laoghaire, hearing the debates, and observing there was more 
than a common disturbance, started up in haste, and, in running 
out, struck his head against the upper part/ of the door, which 
with the violence of the blow, fractured his skull ; but the 
wound was not immediately mortal, for he lived to call his ser- 
vants about him, who fell bravely upon the king's guards, and 
those who attended the execution, and, putting them to flight, 
he obtained his purpose, and saved the life of the poet ; but he 
did not survive this action, for after the encounter he died upoa 
the spot. This was the unfortunate end of Laoghaire Buadhaig, 
as Irish chronicles expressly assert. 


Oilioll More, the husband of Meidhbh, being killed by the 
hand of Connall Cearnach, Meidhbh removed her place of resi- 
dence to Inis Chroithoin, situated upon the bank of the lake 
Ribh ; and, having the conveniency of a sweet water, she used 
in the summer mornings to retire into the pond, and divert and 
refresh herself by swimming. Forbuidhe, the son of Connor, 
king of Ulster, being a prince of very severe resentment, hearing 
of this custom of the queen, found means privately to come to 
the lake, and with a line he had for that purpose, he measured 
the exact distance between the one side and the other, where 
Inis Cloithroin formerly stood, and returned back to Ulster un- 
discovered. As soon as he arrived, he drove two stakes of wood 
into the ground, at the same distance with the length of the line 
which measured the breadth of the lake; and when he had placed 
an apple at the top of the stakes, he stood at the other, and 
for some time made it his practice to cast a stone at the 
with a sling. He used this exercise so long till he could fling 
to the greatest nicety, and became so dexterous^ that he never 
missed his inark. At that time there wa^a an appointed meetnig 


between the principal inhabitants of Ulster and Conacht, upon 
one side of the river Siiannon, at Inis Cloithroin. It was to com- 
pose some differences between the two provinces; and i orbuidhe, 
the son of Connor, came with his father's deputies, and was the 
principal person in the management of the treaty. This he 
thought was a proper time to execute his design against the 
queen of Conacht ; and an immediate opportunity offered to 
accomplish his purpose, for the queen, according to custom, came 
in the morning to divert herself in the lake, and when she was 
in the water, Forbuidhe flung a stone at her with his sling, and 
was so expert in the art, that he smote her full in the forehead, 
when, sinking to the bottom, she died instantly. In this man- 
ner fell this heroic queen, after she had enjoyed the government 
of Conacht ninety-eight years, as before mentioned.' It was 
thought proper to give an account of the death of some of the 
most illustrious princes of the island, and of the memorable ex- 
ploits and achievements of those brave persons that were called 
the champions of the western isle ; and this was thought the 
most proper place to introduce these transactions, because they 
happened in the reign of Meidhbh, queen of Conacht. But lest 
it should be thought a digression, if we stay too long upon this 
subject, we shall return and take notice of the children of Eoch- 
aidh Feidhlioch, who makes so great a figure in the Irish history. 
This prince, Eochaidh Feidhlioch, had three sous and three 
daughters ; the names of his three sons were Breas, Nar, and 
Lughair, and the thiee daughters were known by the names of 
Eithne Vathach, Clothra, and Meidhbh Cruachna. A very an- 
cient poet gives the same account, which authority is sufficient 
for us to follow. 

The valiant Eochaidh FeidhUoch 

Leit tiiree fair daughters of his royal line, 

Each would adorn a monarch's nuptial bed, 

Their names were Eitlme Vathach, Meidhbh, and Clothra, 


This prince is so honourably mentioned by the historians of 
Ireland, that it would be injustice to his memory, as well as to 
posterity, to rob the world of any of those memorable actions, 
which so eminently distinguish this prince in the ancient records 
of the kingdom. It must be observed, therefore, that Neasa, the 
daughter of Eochaidh Salbuidhe, was mother of this excellent 


monarch ; and wherever we find his genealogy, he is always said 
to be Connor, the son of Neasa, &c. His father was Fachtna 
Fathach, the son of Cais, son of Rughraidh, a descendant from 
the royal line of Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain. One of 
the daughters of Connor was married to Carbre Niadfar, king of 
Leinster, who, to obtain her, made over part of his own domi- 
nions to her father; and when the provincialists insisted upon 
laying out the distinct bounds of each province, it appeared 
that a great part of Leinster was claimed by Connor, king of 
Ulster, as settled by the marriage of his daughter ; and he added 
to his own territories all the country from Loch an Choigeadh 
and Teamhair, that is, Tara, to the main ocean. This tract of 
the island is known to include three complete territories ; as a 
poet of great antiquity observes in the following lines : 

Connor enlarged the bounds of Ms command j 
And, as a dowry for his daughter's beauty, ' 
Obtain'd three fruitful tracts of land from Leinster, 
And join'd them to his own dominions 

The name of the lady who procured these three territories for 
Connor, the king of Ulster, was Feidhlin Nuadhcrothach ; but 
she had more regard for the grandeur of her own family than 
for the honour of her husband or her own character, for she 
found means to make her escape, and fled from Leinster, with a, 
young gallant called Connall Cearnach. 

Connor, notwithstanding his own accomplishments, by one 
action obscured the glory of his reign ; for upon a time, when 
he had drank to excess, he attempted familiarity, and had the 
misfortune to be allowed to commit incest with his own mother. 
JSTeasa ; which abominable crime produced a son, whose name 
was Cormac Conloingios. But the vengeance of Heaven severely 
punished the mother, who was most concerned in the guilt of 
this wickedness, with the loss of all her other children, except 
these three sons, who died without issue ; the names of the sur- 
viving three were Beanna, from whom Beantry obtained its 
name ; Lamha, who gave the name to Lamhruidhe ; and 
Glaisue, from whom Glasruidhe is derived : and to perpetuate 
the infamy of that unnatural act, Providence, as our Irish annals 
it form us, has taken care that at this day there is not one de- 
scendant, even from these three, living upon the (ace of the 



The Irish records deliver these particulars concerning the 
death of Conlaoch. Congculionn, it seems, discovered a mar- 
tial disposition, and deligbed in arms from his youth ; and, to 
perfect himself in the discipline of war, he went into Scotland, 
where there was a lady of masculine bravery and great experi- 
ence, whose name was Sgathach, and to her he applied to be 
instructed in the exercise of his weapons, under whose care and 
inspection he soon improved, and became one of the most 
accomplished warriors of his time. But the soft passion of love, 
notwithstanding, found a way into the heart of the young sol- 
dier ; for there was a most beautiful young lady in Scotland, 
whose name was Aoife, the daughter of Ardgeine, who was so 
charmed with the comeliness of his person, and the generous 
manner of his deportment, that she conceived the most violent 
passion for him, which she soon found means to acquaint him 
with. The cavalier with great gallantry accepted of her love , 
and upon the first sight of her was moved with the most tender 
sentiments, and though he had not any opportunity of marrj'- 
ing her-, yet he attempted the lady's virtue, who yielded upon 
the first summons, and she proved with child by him. He now 
began to think oi returning into Ireland, and, taking leave of 
the distressed Aoifo, he gave her a chain of gold, and charged 
her to keep it safely, till the child, if it proved a son, came to 
the estate of a man ; and then he ordered her to send him to 
Ireland with that token, by which he should discover him to be 
his son, and promised that as such he would entertain him ; 
but withal he gave her this injunction particularly, that she 
should lay the strictest command upon him to observe her direc- 
tions in three things ; the first, that he should never give the 
way to any person living, but rather die than be obliged to tum 
back : the second, not to refuse a challenge from the boldest 
champion alive, but to fight him at all hazards, if he was sure 
to lose his life : the third, not to confess his name upon any 
account, though threatened with death for concealing it. These 
obligations she was to lay upon him with a parent's authority, 
which she promised to execute faithfully, and with these assur- 
ances Congcuiionn returned to Ireland. 

The unfortunate Aoife was soon after delivered of a son, who 
was named Conlaoch, whom she carefally educated, and, when 
he came of age, she placed him under the tuition of Sgathach 



the virago of Scotland, to be instructed in the use of arms, and 
in the art of war and military discipline. He discovered the 
same genius with his father, and when he had finished his exer- 
cises with applause, his mother, as she was ordered, sent him 
into Ireland to Congculionn. 

As soon as he arrived upon the coasts, he resolved to go 
directly to the court of Connor, king of Ulster, which was then 
kept at a seat called Thracht Eise, because that was the most 
convenient place for the reception of his principal nobility and 
commons, who were then assembled to debate upon some im- 
portant affairs that related to the government of the province. 
When the young cavalier appeared at court, Connor sent one of 
his commanding officers to inquire who he was, and upon what 
business he came ; but the stranger resolved to observe the 
commands of his mother, and refused absolutely to give him 
satisfaction upon that head, and declared that his name was not 
of much importance, but he would not discover it to the stoutest 
man living. The messenger, whose name was Cuinnire, sur- 
prised at this insolent answer, returned to the king, and related 
what had happened. Congculionn was at that time at court, 
and, willing to be fully satisfied who this stranger was, desired 
^leave to go to him, saying he did not doubt of giving the king 
a good account of him. He was accordingly sent, with a full 
commission to use him as he pleased, and to force him, if he 
continued obstinate, into compliance and good manners. When 
he came he demanded, with an air of authority, what his name 
was 'j but the stranger would by no means give him satisfac- 
tion, which so enraged his father, whose passion had overcome 
his reasoUj that he struck at him with his lance, and a most 
desperate combat followed between the two champions, the father 
and the son, equally brave and expert in the management of 
their arms. They fought a considerable time with doubttal 
success ; at last Congculionn, unable to sustain the force of his 
son's youthful heart, who charged him briskly, was obliged to 
give way, and, notwithstanding he had fought so many duels, 
killed maijy renowned swordsmen, and understood his weapons- 
as well as any man living, and had courage to use them, yet he 
engaged with a young hero of superior strength, who pressed 
him very hard, and forced him to take the refuge of a ford to 
defend his life. He was perfectly distracted with this repulse, 
and, forgetting the reason of his quarrel, which should have en- 
gaged him to receive the stranger with the greatest tenderness 
and honour, he called to an officer that belonged to him, and 

OF IllELAND. 219 

was a spectator of the combatj to give him the spear called ia 
tiie Irish language Gai Builg, with which he was sure to destroy 
his adversary, and put an end to the dispute. His friend, whose 
name was Laoigh, the son of Righe Gabhra, finding him in dis- 
tress, and close pursued, gave him the weapon, which Congcu- 
lioun instantly threw -with all his might, and pierced the unfor- 
tunate Conlaoch through the body ; which decided the fortune 
of tiie combat, for the young hero fell dead upon the spot by the 
builds of his own father. 

It were easy to enlarge and set off this history with numerous 
relations of adventures oi this nature, between the most renowned 
champions of those warlike ages. I could, if my bounds would 
ailuw me, give an account of the death of Congculionn, who Wcis 
slain by the childr-^n of Caileiin ; in what manner the brave 
Feardia, the son ol Domhnoiu, was killed by Congculionn, and 
how the seven brothers, who were called the Mames, and were 
the sons of Oilioll M-ore, and the famous Meidhbh, queen of Con- 
iiciit, lost their lives. 'These, and many more transactions, that 
relate to Congculionn, and other champions of those times, might 
be particularly mentioned ; but volumes would not contain all 
the military exploits of the Irish heroes, and therefore they are 
not to be expected within the compass of this history ; but who- 
ever desires to be acquainted with those illustrious events may, 
il he understands the ancient language of the country, have re- 
course to manuscripts, that are now preserved in the kingdom 
of Ireland, and whose authority was never yet questioned. They 
are of easy access to the curious, and the antiquaries are glad of 
the opportunity of communicating them. The books, wiiich 
treat of the actions of these heroes, are these, Brislioch Muigh 
Miiirtheimhne, Oideadh na gcurruidhe. Tain bo Cuailgne, Tain 
bo seaghamhain deargruathar Chonuill Chearnuig, Feis Eamhna 
tain bo Fleidhis, and many others upon the same subject. 

But notwithstanding the bounds set to this history, it will be 
of some use to take notice of the death of a most distinguished 
champion, whose fame is alive to this day among the Irish, his 
name was Conrigh, the son of Daire ; and what makes it proper 
to introduce this transaction at tiiis time is, because this valiant 
hero was cotemporary with Connor, king of Ulster, and was one 
of the most eminent warriors of the age. The mother of this 
illustrious person was Morann Manannach, the daughter of Ir, 
tiie son of Virsighe, and sister to Eochaidh Eiohbheoil ; and 
tiiis account we receive from a poet of great antiquity, ia the 
following manner , 


T! -J ^dl•tuous lady, Moraiin Manannacli, 
iMui';liter of valiant Ir, soa of Viusigue, 
Si;itei' to Eochaidh Eichblieoii, 
\Va3 mother of tiie mt>;st couragaous Coarigh, 
The son of i>aire. 

It must be observed, that there were three principal tribes, 
or orders oi knights, or renowned champions in Ireland, at that 
time, that were the bravest persons of the age they lived in. and 
were so confessed by all nations abroad ; for their valour, their 
tallness, and the proportion of their bodies, were made the won- 
der of all foreign countries, and their exploits are not to be pa- 
ralleled in history ; nor was the famed Fionu of Leinster able 
to engage any of them. The first tribe of these warriors wai 
called, the Champions of the Red Branch, in the Irish language 
Curruidhe na Croibhe Ruadhe ; and these were under the coai- 
mand of Connor, king ot Ulster. The second order was those 
who had the government of Jorrus Domhuoinn, in Conacht ; 
and the master of these kpights was Oilioil Fionn. The third 
ce nsisted of a select family of hereditary courage, called Tiie 
children of Deaghdha, who were under the authority of Con- 
righ, the son of Daire, and they had their residence in the west 
of Munster. These tribes were the most celebrated heroes of 
those times ; and they were never to be overcome by all the 
champions oi the world, nor could they be conquered, uniesi 
tiiey quarrelled among themselves, and by that means fell by 
each tiler's arms. 


Notwithstanding the bravery of this great warrior, his d^ath 
was brought about in this manner; as the genuine recoids oi 
Ireland particularly mention. It happened that the champions 
of Craobh Kuadh, or the Eed Branch, had intelligence of a rich 
island near the coast of Scotland, that abounded with gold, sil- 
yer, jewels, and otlier valu&ble commodities, which tliey resolved 
to attack and plunder, and return home laden with spoils; 
and, as an inducement to sharpen their courage, they had heard 
that there was a most beautiful maiden lady in the island, who 
exceeded all the women of her time, the daughter of the gover- 
nor of the country, and her name was Blanaid. Conrigh, un- 
derstanding that the knights of the Ked Branch were going upoi) 
this design, and had made tnemselves ready for the expediiion, 

OF IRl LANP. 221 

Imrl recourse to bis necromantic art, in which he was very expert, 
and which was a poHte study in those times , and by the assis- 
tance of his skill he transformed himself into a disguised shape, 
BO tliat nobody knew him ; and under this cover he conveyed 
himself on shipboard, and landed with them^upon the island. 

When they arrived, they found the inhabitants in a conster- 
nation, and for security, and to prevent surprise, the governor 
h:id removed his daughter, and her jewels, and the most valu- 
able treasure of the country, into a strong castle, well fortified> 
and almost impossible to be stormed ; and what added to tho 
difficulty, the defenders of it w^ere almost as skilful in magic as 
the besiegers, and summoned all their art to defend the castle. 
There were several attempts made by the Irish without, but 
with no success ; and, after some fruitless assaults, they began 
to despair of accomplishi'g their design, and had some thoughts 
of quitting the island. But Courigh, in the habit of a mean 
person, in a gray habit, whose heart was fixed upon the young 
ludy, conveyed himself among the commanding officers, who 
were debating the matter in a council of war ; and when he found 
thoy resolved to break up the siege, boldly, and with a good 
grace, opposed their return to Ireland before they had taken the 
castle ; and engaged, under the penalty of losing his life, that, 
if he would give him the liberty of choosing one of the jewels 
within the garrison, he would soon make them masters of it, and 
the}^ might plunder it at their pleasure. Congcullionn, who was 
the Irish general, ioyfuUy accepted the proposal, and pi'omised 
him upon his honour he should have his choice of the plunder, 
and the liberty to take which jewel he pleased. Upon this se- 
curity Conrigh put himself at the head of the troops, for he was 
to command in the assault, and, advancing to the walls o( the 
castle, he thought it rashness to depend wholly upon the bravery 
of his forces, and therefore made use of his necromantic art^ 
which had that effect as to stop the motion of an enchanted 
wheel that was placed at the castle gate to prevent the entrance 
of the besiegers. When he had removed this difficulty, i.o 
forced the gate, and made way for the whole army, who entered, 
and put all the enclosed islanders to the sword, except the beau- 
tiful Blanaid. They plundered the fort of all the riches and 
jewels they could find, and, with great treasure and valuable 
j>poils, they returned to their shipping, and went on board and 
landed in Ireland. 

They directed their way towards Eamhain, and when they 
came there they resolved to divide the prey they had taken. 


Coiirigb, in his graj habit, applied himself to the general W 
hia choice of what jewel he pleased, which he obliged hinM-lf 
upon honour to allow him. Congculionn made no objecciou ; 
and Conrigh immediately took the young lady by the hand, and, 
said, this is the jeyv^el 1 choose as a reward ior all my services. 
The general, who had depended upon her tor himself, resolved 
to sacrifice his honour to his love ; and, forcing the lady ironi 
him, told him he had deceived him by the manner o; his ex- 
pression, and that he would stand by the contract only in^the 
sense he understood it, which was, tiiat he might oboose which 
of the precious stones he would, and that he might do il ne 
pleased ; but he would not deliver up the lady, neither did the 
laws of honour oblige him to it. This answer surprised Con- 
righ, who upbraided the general with the breach of his word, 
juid resolved upon the first opportuiaity to seize her, and to con, 
vey her out of his reach ; and he found means to effect this in 
a short time, for though he was not able to accomplish it i y 
force, yet his magical art never failed him, and by enciiantmynC 
he stole away the damsel unperceived, and carried iier oif. 
Congculionn soon perceive'd his fair plunder was gone ; and tne 
Djan in the gray habit being missing at the same time, he began 
to siispect that Conrigh, tiie son of .Daire, made use of thai UiS- 
guise to steal her away, and instantly ordered messengers every 
way to pursue them ; and he himseli\, by good fortune, set out 
towards Munster, and overtook at Solochoid. He com- 
inanded him to give up the lady ; but Conrigh had moie 
gallantry than to comply, and told him that they would decide 
tneir pretensions in single combat, and the victor should claim 
the lady as his prize. Congculionn accepted of the challenge j and 
the rivals fought desperately, and the victory was a long time 
Goubtiul, but Conrigh proved the happy mai^, and overcame t.e 
general, whom he used in an ignominious, and, were it not the 
custom of the country, in an ungenerous manner ; for he tied 
hnn neck and heels, and, what v. as the greatest testimony of 
(.li^giace, he cut o£' his hair with his sword, and lelt him in a 
v.ry deplorable condition. When he had secured his rival, and 
exposed liim to all imaginable shame, he pursued his journey, 
and came with his lair jewel mto the west oi Munster. 

He had no sooner left the place of combat, but Lttoigh, tho 
Gon of Eiogh an Gabhra, a servant to Congculionn, came up to 
his master, and, when he had unbound him, took care oi his 
wounds, and they retired with all possible expedition into the 
T»ildeniess of Ulster, near a place called Beanaibh Boirche ; and 

CF TT? ELAND. 223 

in thh solitiule the disgraced general, attended with Iiis man, 
continued for the space of a year ; in which tinje they never 
aopeared in public, but lived privately, and concealed them- 
selves from the knowledge of the inhabitants. And the reason 
of this resolution was, because it was a sign of cowardice, and 
the most infamous scandal to a champion or a professed soldier 
to be without his hair. When the year was expired, Congculionn, 
as he wandered about, came to the top of Binn Boirche, and, 
looking about him, he observed a great flight of large black 
birds, flying from the north sea, and landing upon the shore. 
Fe immediately advanced towards them, and with an engine, 
called Taithbheim, he pursued them incessantly day and night, 
and killed a bird of them in every county of the kingdom, till 
he came to Srabh Broinn, in the west of Munster. 

In his return ho was surprised with the sight of the beautiiiil 
Blanaid, near the bank of Fionngiaise, a river in the coanty of 
Kerry, where Conrigh had a noble seat, and lived in great state 
and magnificence. Congculionn addressed himself to her, and 
she immediately knew him ; and, after they had converged for a 
short time, the lady could not forbear confessing she loved iiim 
above all men living, and entreated him to believe it was agiJust 
her consent she was divorced from him ; and therefore desired 
that, about the next Allhallow-tide, he would come with an armed 
.force, and deliver her from the tyranny of a man whom she hated, 
and she would take care that Conrigh should have no guards 
about him to oppose the design, which she was confident, if he 
had but the courage fo attempt, she could assure him of succssp. 
Conculionn gallantly promised that he should be prepared for 
the adventure by that time, and depended upon her maiiagement 
for the happy issue of it, and with the most endearing expres- 
sions on both sides they took their leave. He directly wont to 
the court of Conuor, king of Ulster, to whom he coramurdciitcd 
the engagements he was under to the lady, and entreated that he 
would supply him with a sufficient number of troops for thu p'sr- 
pose. The king approved of his design, and promised him all 
Euitable assistance and protection. 

In the meantime Blanaid, the better to carry on the intrigue, 
and make it safe for her lover, advised Conrigh, over whom she 
had great influence, to erect a stalely palace for his residence, 
that should exceed all the buildings in the kingdom ; and to make 
it more noble, and the better to provide materials, she thought 
it not improper, since he was in peace with his neighbours, to 
employ his soldiery, who were distinguished by the ijume of CJana 

224 The general TnsTor.T 

Deaglia, to gather nil the stones of a larger sizo, tliat stood up- 
right, for the foundation of the building, with design that all the 
experienced warriors that belonged to Conrigh, should be dis- 
persed over the kingdom, at the time that Congculionn pro- 
mised to relieve her and carry her off. The unfortunate husband 
deceived by this stratagem, complied, and gave immediate orders 
that all his forces should scatter themselves over the country, to 
collect stones for the fabric ; and his commands were obeyed, fur 
he did not reserve so much as a troop to guard his person, or to 
employ upon any emergencies of the government. 

The news that Conrigh had sent away his army, was soon 
conveyed to Congculionn, who thought this time the most proper' 
to execute his purpose, especially since the forces made up of tlio 
Clana Deagha were like wise removed; for these made up a formida- 
ble band, and were some of the bravest soldiers in the world. He 
accordingly put himself at the head of a resolute body of troops, 
that were given him by Connor, king of Ulster, and began his 
march. He soon arrived near the seat of Conrigh, and privately 
lodged his men in a thick wood near the palace. His first busi- 
ness was, to dispatch a messeuger to Blanaid, to notify his arri- 
val with a sufficient force to carry her off, which he would attempt; 
in whatever manner she proposed. The lady was transported 
With the news, and sent him word, that she would take care Con- 
righ should be unable to make opposition for she would steal his 
sword ; and that he should know what time was the most proper 
to attack the palace by this sign : there was a brook, which ran 
from the seat where Conrigh lived, through the wood vvdieie Cong- 
culionn had encamped ; into this rivulet she proposed to pour a 
large quantity of milk, sufficient to discolour the stream, and 
Congculionn was to observe when the water ran white, and im- 
mediately to draw out his men and break into the castle. Tho 
messenger returned, and the general, strictly observing the di- 
rections, discovered the brook tobe white with milk, when, sallying 
out, he forced his way into the palace without opposition, and 
slew Conrigh, who had not so much as a sword for his defence, 
othervv^ise he would have sold his life dearly. Blanaid threw her- 
self into the arms of the conqueror, who carried her away with 
him into Ulster. The rivulet obtained its neme from this me- 
morable transaction ; and from the whiteness of the water, oc- 
cadoned by the milk, was called Fionnglaise ; for the word Fionn, 
in ohe Irish language, signifies white, and Glaise is the same 
with the word brook, and by joining both words they iuim Fiomi 

OF 1 1- ELAND, 225 

But the perfidious Blaiiaid did not long survive lier treachery ; 
for the unhappy Courigh retained a poet in his court, whose 
name was Feircheirtne, who pursued the conqueror and his mis- 
tress into Ulster, resolving to sacrifice the base woman to the 
ghost of his murdered master. When he arrived he found Cong- 
culionn and Blanaird, with many of the principal nobility, at- 
tending upon Connor, the king of that province, who diverted 
himself by walking upon the top of a very steep rock, called in 
the Irish language Kinchin Beara. The poet, watching his op- 
portunity, observed Blanaid standing upon the very edge of the 
cliff, and addressing himself, as if he made his compliment to 
her, he seized upon her violently, with all his force, and, clasping 
her in his arms, he threw himself headlong with her down the 
precipice, and they were both dashed to pieces. 

I shall no longer interrupt the connexion of this history, by 
relating the heroic exploits and achievements of the ancient wor- 
thies of Ireland; but so much was thought proper to be observed, 
as a specimen- of the bravery of those ancient champions, and to 
convince posterity, that the ancestors of the genuine Irish were 
a warlike and generous peopde, and deserve to have their names 
and their actions recorded for their own honour, and for the ex- 
ample and improvement of future ages. I shall now proceed 
regularly to the successive reigns of the Irish monarchs. 

Eochaidh. who had the sui-name of Aireamh, succeeded 
oqKo in the throne. This prince was the son of Fin, son of 

Finloga,* son of Roighueni Ruadh, son of Easamuin 
Eamhna, son of Blathachta, son of Labhra Lore, a descendant 
from the royal line of Heremon, and governed the island twelve 
years. He was distinguished by the name of Eochaidh Aireamh, 
because it was he that first introduced the custom of burying 
the dead in graves dug within the earth , for the Irish wcrd 
Aireamh signifies a grave. The Milesians, and their posterity, 
before the reign of this monarch, were used to cover their dead 
by raising great heaps of stones over their bodies, which practice 
tpis prince abolished, as not so decent and secure. He lost his 
i.fe by Siodhmali, at Freamhain Teabhtha. 
oi)PA Eidersgeoil was his successor. He was the son of 

Eogan, son of Oilioll, son of Jar, son of Deagha, son t)f 
Suin, son of Roisin, son of Trein, son of Rothrein, son of Airindii, 
son of Maide, son oi Forga, son of Fearadhach, son of Oilioila 
Euron, son of Fiacha Fearmara, son ot Aongus Tuirmheach, sou 
oi Eochaidh Foitleathan, of the posterity of Heremon, and wore the 
crown six years^ but was killed by Nuaghadh Neacht, at Ailiin, 


' Nuaghadh Neacht was the succeeding monarch. He was 
SO 70 *^® ^^^ of Seadna Siothbach, son of Lughaidh Loitfm, sou 
of Breasal Breac, son of Fiacuadh Fiorbric, sou of OilioUa 
Glas, son of Fearaidhach Foglas, son of Nuaghat Follamhain, 
son of AUoid, son of Art, son of Criomthan Cosgrach, son of 
Fearaidhach Fionn, son of Breasal Breagamhuin, son of Aongus 
Gailine, descended from the line ol Heremon, and reigned 
but half a year. He was known by the name of Nuagbadh 
Neacht, from the Latin word Nix, which signifies snow ; for his 
skin was so exceeding white as to be compared to the driven 
snow. This prince fell by the sword of Conaire, the son of 

3970 Conaire, who was surnamed the Great, seized upon 
the government. He was the son of Eidersgeoil, ..son of 
Eogan, son of OilioUa, descended from the line of Here- 
mon, and tilled the throne' thirty years, or, if we believe an- 
other computation-, he reigned seventy years It is to be ob- 
served, that from this monarch the noble families of the Ear- 
nighs, in Munster, and of ^hf^ Pailriadhs, in Scorlawd, desf^ended, 
'Che Earaif^hs first went into Munster, in the time of Duach 
Dalta Deaghadh ; and the occasion oi their settling there, as the 
anclunt poeb Cormac Mac Cuillenan records, in his Psalter ot 
I'ashel, was the superior force of Clana Rughraidhe, of the 
)')Osterity of Ir, the son of Milesius, who expelled them out of 
vheir former possessions, and routed them in eight several en- 
gagements, which forced them to fly for refuge into Munster, 
where they became powerful, and got large estates ; and they 
flourished in this province, from the time of Duach Dalta Deag- 
hadh to the reign of Mogha Nuagat, insomuch that they were 
obliged to extend their settlements ; and in process of time they 
spread themselves westwards of Iverahagh, and from thence to 
tiie western islands in Munster, as the history of that province 
particularly mentions. This tribe arrived to so great authority, 
as to take upon themselves the command of the whole country, 
which they governed till the reign of Mogha Nuagat, by whom 
they were expelled, and forced to seek new habitations. Conaire, 
the monarch of Ireland, was deprived of his crown and his life, 
by Aingeal Caol, son of the king of Wales. 
Ar)r\r^ Lughaidh Riabhdearg filled the throne. He was the 
son of Fineamhnas, son of Eochaidh Feidhlioch, son of 
Fian, son of Finlogha, descended from the royal line of- He- 
remon, and reigned over the kingdom twenty years. This 
monarch entered into alliance with the king of Denmark, whose 



dangliter, Doarborgnill, he obtained for his wife. He received 
the title of Lughaidh Riabhdearg on the account of two 
red circles, one of which encompassed his neck, the other sur- 
rounded his body. Upon some discontent he put an end to his 
own life, by lalling upon his sword. There is an account to be 
met with in some of the Irish chronicles, that this prince was 
begot by three brothers, by committing incest with their own 
sister, when '"hey were intoxicated with win6 ; the brothers and 
sister, as the same authority asserts, were the children of Eoch- 
aidh Feidhlioch, one oi the kings of Ireland. 

Connor Abhradhruadh succeeded in the government. 
f^i)^ , He was the son of Feargus Fairge, son of Nuaghadh Neacht, 
'' ' son 01 Seadna Siothbhaic, a prince of the posterity of 
Heremon, and wore the crown but one year. The reason why 
he was distinguished by the name of Abhradhruadh was, because 
the hair oi his eye-brows was red ; for the Irish word Abhradh- 
ruadh signifies red eye-brows. 

4.090 Criomhthan Niadhnar was his successor He was the 
■ son of Lughaidh Riabhdearg, descended from the line of 
Heremon, and reigned monarch of the island sixteen years. He 
was known by the name of Criomchan Niadhnar, because he was 
one oi the bravest and most victorious champions of the age ho . 
lived in ; for in the Irish language the word Niadh signifies a 
bold hero. It was in the twelfth year oi the reign of this prince 
that Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, was born. His 
death was occasioned by an unfortunate fall from his horse. 

Fearaidhach Fionfachtnach obtained the arovernment. 


*i * He was the son of Criomthan Niadhnar, son of Lughaidh 
Riabhdearg, oi the posterity ol the line oi Heremon, 
and he reigned twenty years. His mother was Nar Tath Cha- 
och, daughter Of Laoch, son oi Daire, who lived in the land of 
the Picts, or Scotland. He was distinguished by the honourable 
title Oi Fearaidhach Fionfachtnach, because he was a prince oi 
strict justice, and governed his subjects with equity and mode- 
ration all his reign, j for the Irish word Fachtnach signifies just' 
and equitable ; and he had the most lawful claim to that title, 
f6r ^ monarch of more integrity and virtue never sat upon the 
throne oi Ireland. In the reign of this prince ^it was, that Mo- 
ran, the son oi Maoin, lived, and was the chiel justice of the 
kingdom. He was called, by way of eminence, the just judge ; 
and he was the first that wore the wonderful collar, called in the 
Irish language Jadh Morain. This, collar was attended with a 
most surprising virtue * for if it was tied about the neck of a 


wicked judge, who intended to pronounce false judgment, it would 
immediately shrink, and contract itself close, and almost stop 
the breath ; but if the person that wore it changed his resolu- 
tion, and resolved sincerely to be just in his sentence, it would 
instantly enlarge itself, and hang loose about the neck. This 
miraculous collar was also used to prove the integrity of the wit- 
nesses who were to give evidence in the court of judicature ; 
and if it were tied about the neck of a person who designed to 
give a false testimony, it would wonderfully shrink close, and 
extort the truth, or continue contracting itself till it had throttled 
him. And from this practice arose the custom, in the judica- 
tories of the kingdom, for the judge, when he suspected the ve- 
racity of a witness, and proposed to temfy him to give true evi- 
dence, to charge him solemnly to speak the truth, for his lifo 
was in danger if he falsified, because the fatal collar, the Jadh 
Morain, was about his neck, and would inexorably proceed to 
execution. This Feai-aidbach Fionfachtnach died a natural 
death at Liatrym. 

Fiachadh Fion, from whom descended lineally the Dial 

oV Fiat hach, was the succeeding monarch. He was the sou 

of Daire, son of Dluthig, son of Deitsin, son of Eochaidh, 

son of Suin, son oi Rosin, derived from the princely stock of 

' lieremon. He sat upon the throne three years, and fell by the 

Bword of Fiachadh Fionoluidh, 

nrr Fiachadh Fionoluidh was his successor. He was the 

son of Fearaidhach Fionfachtnach, descended from the 
posterity of Heremon, and governed the kingdom twenty-seven 
years. He was called the prince of the white cows ; and the 
reason of this distinction was, because all the time of his reign 
the greatest number of the cows were white over all the kingdom : 
this gave him the name of Fionoluidh ; for the word Fionoluidh, 
in the Irish language signifies white cows, Fionn is the same ^ as 
white, and Oluidh is in the English a cow. It must be observed 
in this place, that the Chronicle of Stow asserts, that the Scots 
had possessed themselves of the kingdom of Scotland in the year 
ol our redemption 73, which was before Carbre Riada was born. 
This Fiachadh was murdered by the plebeians of Ireland, called 
Aitheach Tuatha. 

^. Cairbre Cinncait filled the throne. He was the son of. 

Dubthaig, son oi Rughraidhe, son oi Diochuin, son of 

Tait, son ol Luighre, son of Oiris, son oi Earnduilbh. son of 

Ptionoil, son ol the king of Denmark, who came into Ireland with 

LabLra Loing^eachp to the fort of Tuama Teanbhoith ; and ho 


^.nt upon the throne five years. He was, as some of the chronicles 
u..sert, descended from the posterity of the Firbolgs, and was 
known by the name of Cairbre Cinncait, because his ears wcis 
of an uncommon shape, and resembled the ears of a cat. This 
frince fixed himself in the government by one of the most bar- 
barous acts of treason that is to be met with in history. The 
manner was thus. 

There was a conspiracy formed by the common people of the 
kingdom, the ordinary mechanioas and meanest o± the plebeians, 
to dethrone the reigning monarch, to murder the nobility and 
gentry, and by that means to seize upon the government. To 
accomplish their design, which was carried on with the utmost 
secrecy, they resolved to provide a most magnificent entertain- 
ment, and to invite the king, the petty princes, and the nobility 
and gentry ot the kingdom, to a feast that was to be celebrated 
at a place called Magh Cru, in the province of Conacht. This 
feast was three years in making ready, for they could not furnish 
suitable provision for so numerous an assembly in less time; and 
within that space the conspirators reserved and laid up the third 
part of their corn, and other necessaries, to furnish the entertain- 
ment. When everything was thus prepared, with great state 
and plenty, the king and princes, the nobility and gentry of the 
ioland were invited, and fatally accepted the invitation, to their 
own ruin. The principal guest was Fiachaidh Fionoluidh, the 
monarch of Ireland, who brought his queen along with him, her 
name was Eithne, daughter to the king of Scotland ; the second 
in quality was Feidh, son of Fidheigh Chaoich, king of Muns-ter, 
who had his wife with him, whose name was Beartha, daughter 
to the king of Wales • the third was Breasal, the son of Firb, 
king of Ulster, his wife likewise was present at the entertainment, 
and her name was Aine, daughter of the king of England. 
These princes were attended with a numerous and splendid re- 
time, which consisted of the prime nobility and gentry of the 

There were three persons particularly, who were the ringleaders 
and principally directed this conspiracy : their names were Mo- 
narch, Buan, and Cairbre Cinncait, that usurped the government 
ot Ireland, who was the chief traitor, and by his wicked policy 
coutrived the entertainment. The feast continued for the space 
of nine days in great splendour, and when that time was expired, 
tlio plebeians, and the vilest scum of the people, led on by their 
generals, fell suddenly upon the royal guests, the nobility, and 
aii the company, and put them to the sword, without distinction, 



except the three queens, who by good providence were all big 
with child, and moved the compassion of the traitors : but they 
resolved not to trust long to their mercy, for upon the first op- 
portunity they made their escape, and landed safely in Scotland. 
Here they fell in travail, and each of them was delivered of a son, 
whose names were Tuathal Teachtmar, Tiobruide Tirioch, and 

These confusions so distressed the people, that they were re- 
duced to the utmost extremities, and to a state of despondency : 
they had no encouragement to follow their business and occupa- 
tions ; the fields lay unmanured, and a most desperate famine 
followed. These were the effects of the usurpation, which at 
last opened the eyes of the inhabitants, who began to inquire 
after the young princes, and resolved to restore them to their 
just rights. When they had intelligence that they were in Scot- 
land, they invited them in the most submissive manner to re- 
turn to their country, and deliver their subjects out of the 
hands of those tyrants, who had oppressed them for many years ; 
and they promised to vindicate their titles, and put them in 
possession of their crowns. The princes, unwilling to rely wholly 
upon the loyal tenders of the unsteady populace, would not ac- 
cept of the invitation, unless they would bind themselves by an 
oath of allegiance to continue in their obedience, which they 
willingly submitted to ; and accordingly the exiled kings re- 
turned into Ireland, where they were received by the general 
acclamations of the people, the tyrants were destroyed, the coun- 
try was restored to its former state of plenty and happiness, and 
a. final end put to usurpation. 

Since we are relating the lives of the ancient monarchs, it may 
not be improper to obviate an objection that might be offered, 
concerning the genealogy of these princes ; for if it should bf> 
thought surprising, that the Irish writers of late ages deduce 
the descent of the kings, either from the sons ot Milesius, or 
from Lughaidh, the son of Ith ; and likewise if it should seem 
unaccountable, that the principal families of Ireland to this day 
derive their original from some of the branches of the Milesian 
line, without owning themselves to be the descendants of any 
officer or other soldier, who came over in this expedition, and, 
it may be presumed, left a posterity behind them. In answer 
to these difficulties, it must be observed, that the ancient re- 
cords of the kingdom, particularly the books that treat of the 
reigns and conquests of the kings, take express notice of the 
ruin and extirpation of the posterity of the Milesian soldiery ; 

OF iJRELANa !?"1 

for in process of time they degenerated into a barbarous and re- 
bellious race of men, and used their princes in the most seditiouii 
and inhuman manner ; for which turbulent and disloyal prac- 
tices the monarchs by degrees weeded them out of the kingdom j 
and those few that remained, were so vile and infamous, that the 
antiquaries never preserved their genealogies but passed them 
over in oblivion, as a reproach and scandal to the Irish nation. 
But to return to our history. 

Elim obtained the government of the island. He was 
;-■(^ ' the son of Conragh, son of Rughruidhe, son of Sithrighe, 

son of Dubh, son of Fomhoir, of the royal line of Ir, 
the son of Milesius, king of Spain, and reigned twenty years, 
but was at length slain by Tuathal Teachtmar, at the battle of 
Aichle. • 

^Q Tuathal Teachtmhar was his successor. He was the 

son of Fiachadh Fionoluidh, son of Fearaidhach Fionfacht- 
nach, sou of Criomthan Niadhnar, of the posterity of Heremon, 
and filled the throne thirty years. He received the name of 
Tuathal Teachtmhar from the state of plenty and public pro- 
sperity which he settled over the whole kingdom, by succeeding 
in the government ; for the word Teachtmhar, in the Irish lan- 
guage, signifies fruitfulness and prosperity. This Tuathal Te- 
achtmhar was the only child of Fiachadh Fionoluidh, and his 
mother was big with child of him when she was forced to fly into 
Scotland, some time after the bloody massacre of Magh Cru, in 
Conacht, when the plebeians rebelled, and, by murdering the 
reigning princes, the nobility and gentry of the kingdom, seized 
upon the government. The mother of this monarch took great 
care of his education, and brought him up suitable to his quality 
till he was twenty-five years of age. It has been observed be- 
fore, that the kingdom of Ireland sujBTered great calamities under 
the tyranny of the usurpers, and was particularly distressed by 
a sore and long famine : these miseries at length roused up tho 
spirits of the people, who applied themselves to their learned 
druids and soothsayers to know the cause of their misfortunes, 
and what remedy would be effectual to redress them. Tive 
priests had recourse to their art, and upon consultation they 
found that the cause of ail their afflictions was the barbarous 
murder of the kings, the nobility and gentry, and the expulsion 
of the lawful heirs j and therefore tbey tol4 the plebeians, that 
nothing could atone to heaven for their disloyalty and barbarities 
and remove the famine out of the land, but a resolution to re- 
turn to their allegiance, to recall their exiled monarch, and to 

232 Tun: general history 

establish him upon the throne of his ancestors, which was the 
only method to recover the state out of confusion, and settle 
the tranquillity of the nation. The plebeians, reduced to the 
last extremity by want, were pleased with this vanswer, and find- 
ing upon inquiry that Fiachadh Fionoluidh had a son in Scot- 
land, whose name was Tuathal, they consulted together to send 
messengers to Scotland, with a tender of their loyalty, and an 
DfFer to fix the injured king upon the throne of his progenitors. 

And to favour the restoration of this young prince, theie were 
some of the nobility and gentry remaining in the country, who 
had the fortune not to be present at the entertainment when the 
massacre was committed. These were upon all occasions pro- 
moting the interest of Tuathal Teachtmhar, and disposing the 
people to insist upon his return : the chief of them was Clan- 
duin Deasuig, out of Leinster. 

But there were two gentlemen, Fiachadh Caisin, and Fionmal 
his cousin, who signally distinguished themselves, in these dan- 
gerous times, against the party of the usurpers ; for they raised 
five hundred resolute men, and when they were well armed and 
disciplined, they ranged about the country spoiling and killing 
the plebeian rebels in all parts of the kingdom, which was a 
great support to the royal cause, and by degrees so dispirited the 
malcontents that they began to long for a change of governmient, 
and passionately desired a revolution. 

The messengers of the people arriving in Scotland, delivered 
their credentials to Tuathal Teachtmhar, who being informed of 
the deplorable state of his oppressed country, resolved to attempt 
a recovery of his right, and abolish the tyranny of the usurpers. 
Accordingly he went on board with all possible, expedition, and, 
taking his mother with him, who was Eithne, the daughter of 
the king of Scotland, and a strong body of old experienced sol- 
diers, landed safely at Jorris Domhrionn. Here he met with 
the loyal party of forces, headed by the brave Fiachadh Caisin, 
who were plundering and destroying the country of the rebels 
with fire and sword, and, joining with their troops, directed his 
march to Tara, where he found the principal men of the kingdom 
assembled in his favour, who received him with joyful acclama- 
ations, and in a solemn and magnificent manner proclaimed Tua- 
thal king of Ireland. 

Elim, the son of^'Conragh, had then possessed himself of the 
government of Ireland, being an elective king chosen by the suf- 
frage of the plebeians, after the death of Cairbre Cinncait, The 
usurper, alarmed at these proceedings, prepared for delence, and 


baving raised what power the exigency of the time would permit, 
inarched with what forces he had against Tnathall, and gave him 
battle at Aichle, where his new raised army was soon broken and 
defeated, and he himself slain. This success so animated the 
royal party, that they pursued their victory, and fell upon the 
plebeians, and routed them m all parts of the kmgdom. Bui. 
this was not accomplished without great difficulty, for the rebels 
had made themselves strong by a possession of twenty-five years, 
and tried their fortune in several engagements before they were 
absolutely quelled, but at length by the superior bravery of Tua- 
thal's troops, they were .reduced ^ for they were defeated in 
twentj^-five battles in Leinster, in twenty -five battles in Couacht, 
and in twenty-five battles in Munster. 

Tuathal, by these repeated victories, put an end to the usur- 
pation, redeemed the nobility and gentry from the oppression of 
the commons, and restored happiness and tranquillity to the 
kingdom. When he had fixed himself in the government, he 
convened the general assembly of Tara, after the example of his 
roj^ai predecessors in the throne of Ireland, who always sum- 
moned a parliament in the beginning of their reigns, to debate 
upon the affairs of the state, and to consult the welfare and peace 
of the public. The nobility and gentry of the island joyfully 
met him, and in this convention recognised his title to the crown, 
confessed him to be their lawful and rightful monarch, and pro- 
mised to support his government against all foreign and domestic 
enemies ; and, as a farther testimony of their loyalty, engaged 
to continue the succession in his family for ever ^ in the very- 
same manner as they promised to Ugaine More, one of his pre» 

In this assembly it was that Tuathal separated a tract of land 
from each of the four provinces, which met together at a certain 
place • and oi that part which he took he made the country of 
Meath, as h appears at this day. For though the territory of 
land that is adjacent to Visneach, was known by the name of 
Meath, from the time of the sons of Nemedius till the reign of 
this monarch, Tuathall, yet the proportion that was thus sepa- 
rated and divided from the rest was not so called till the death 
of this prince, who established it as a distinct part of the country 
from every one of the provinces, as before mentioned. 

In each portion taken out oi the provinces, Tuathal erected a 
magnificent palace. In the tract he divided from Munster, and 
added to Meath, he built the royal seat of Tlachtga, where the 
fire Tlachtga was ordained to be kindled. The use of this sacred 


fire was to summon the priests, augurs, and druids of Ireland, to 
repair thither, and assemble upon the eve of All Saints, in order 
to consume the sacrifices that were offered to their pagan gods ; 
and it was established, under the penalty of a great fine, that no 
other fire should be kindled upon that night throughout the 
kingdom, so that the fire that was to be used in the country was 
to be derived from this holy fire ; for which privilege the people 
were to pay a Scraball, which amounts to three pence, every 
year, as an acknowledgment to the king of Munster ; because the 
palace Tlachtga, where this fire burned, was the proportion taken 
from the province of Manster, and added to the country of 

The second royal palace that was erected, was in the propor- 
tion taken from the province of Conacht, and here a general 
convocation was assembled, of all the inhabitants of the kingdom 
that were able to appear, which was called The Convocation of 
Visneach, and was kept upon the first day of May, where they 
oifered sacrifices to the principal deity of the island, whom they 
adored under the name Beul. Upon this occasion they were 
used to kindle two fires in every territory of the kingdom, in 
honour of this pagan god. It was a solemn ceremony at this 
time, to drive a number of cattle of every kind, between these 
fires , this was conceived to be an antidote and a preservation 
against the murrain, or any other pestilential distemper among 
cattle, for the year following. And from those fires, that were 
made in worship of the god Beul, the day, upon which the Chris- 
tian festival of St. Philip and St. James is observed, is called, in 
the Irish language, La Beultinne. The derivation of the word 
is thus , La in Irish signifies a day, Beul is the name of the pagan 
deity, and Teinne is the same with fire in the English, which words 
when they are pronounced together, sound La Beultinne. The 
inhabitants at this time, for want of the conveuiency of coined 
money, would change and barter their horses, their arms, or what 
other valuable things they had, for different necessaries which 
they had occasion for, which was the way of buying and selling 
in those ages. The king of Conacht, as a tribute and acknow- 
ledgment, had a horse and arms for every lord of a manor, or 
chieftain of lands, that came to this assembly ; and the reason of 
tiiis claim was, because the tract of Visneach was a proportion 
separated from the province of Conacht. in order to enlarge the 
borders of Meath. 

The third royal seat erected by Tuathal, was the palace of 
Tailtean, which was a territory added to Meath. and originally 



belonged to the province of Ulster. At this place was the cele- 
brated fair of Tailteau held, which was the more remartable, 
as the inhabitants of the island brought their children thither, 
that were of a suitable age, and contracted with one another 
about the marriage of them. The strictest and most becoming 
order was observed in this meeting ; for the men were placed by 
themselves, the women likewise had a peculiar place at a conve- 
nient distance assigned them, where they treated about the dis- 
posal of their children, and when the articles were agreed upon 
they proceeded to the ceremony. 

It must he observed here^ that Lughaidh Lamhfhada was the 
first monarch who established the fair oi Tailtean, in honour to 
the memory of Tailte, the daughter of Maghmor, king of Spain, 
and wife to Eochaidh, the son of Eire, the last king of the Fir- 
bolgs, as before mentioned. In this field that renowned queen 
was buried, by Lughaidh Lamhfhada, who, in commemoration 
of her, instituted the fair of Tailtean ; because she had taken 
care of his education in his minority, and accomplished him in 
pulite learning, and the discipline of arms, till he was grown a 
man. This fair was then kept upon the day known in the Iri^li 
language by the name of La Lughnasa, in the month of August, 
which is as much as to say, the day ordained by Lughaidh, and 
is called in the English Lammas-day, observed upon the first 
day of the month of August. But notwithstanding the fair of 
Tailtean was ordained before the reign of Taathal Teachtmhar, 
yet there was no palace erected in that place till the time of this 
monarch ; and because the seat of Tailtean, in the country of 
Meath, was separated from the province o. Ulster, the king of 
that province laid claim to a tribute of acknowledgment, Arising 
from that fair, which consisted in an ounce of silver from every 
couple that were contracted and married at that time. 

The tourth royal seat, erected by Tuathal Teachtmhar, was 
the palace of Teamhair, that is, Tara, which was added to Meatb, 
and originally belonged to the province of Leinster. In this 
Btately fabric the general meeting of the several estates of the 
kingdom was held, which convention was called the royal assem- 
bly of Tara. This parliament was summoned once in three years, 
and was also distinguished by the name oi Feas Teamhrach. 
The business of this assembly was to enact wholesome laws for 
the government of the kingdom, to examine into the ancient 
chronicles and records, to purge them of all false and spurious 
relations, and to settle th^.^enealogies of the renowned Ga<le- 
lians. The pedigrees fend -niSjle exploits of -the several families 


in the island, were brought before this assembly, who appointed 
a select committee of the most learned antiquaries, to search into 
the truth and authority of them ; and if they were approved 
and passed the scrutmy, they were admitted by the parliament, 
and transcribed into the royal records, called the Psalter of 
Tara ; so that whatever laws, customs or genealogies were offered 
to be introduced, if they were not upon inquiry to be found in 
this venerable and authentic journal, were not admitted as gen- 
uine, but were rejected as an imposition upon posterity. 

The bounds of this history will not allow of a particular ac- 
count of the several laws and institutions established by this 
convention^ which I am certain will take up a vo ume of them- 
cselves, and may hereafter, upon proper encouragement, be com- 
municated to the public ; yet it may be convenient to repeat, 
in some measure, what was observed beforb, and speak of the 
regularity and decent order observed in the magnificent enter- 
tainments, provided for the several members of this triennial 
parliament during the time of their session. 

This assembly did not only consist of the principal nobility 
and gentry of the kingaom, but the military officers, and the 
principal commanders of the army, were admitted to a place in 
these debates ; and the name of every officer, that was in fall 
pay, and employed m the defence of the country, with the date 
of his commission, was enrolled by the learned antiquaries in 
the royal records. The nobility and gentry likewise had their 
names inserted in the list, by public authority, according to 
their several qualities ; and by the superiority of their degrees, 
every member had a right to a place at these entertainments. 

When the dinner was prepared, and the apartment ready, 
every guest had a servant to attend upon h::a, and to carry his 
target, which he delivered to the antiquaries, who hung them up, 
according to their enrolments. The dining-room was a iong 
and narrow building, with tables placed against each side of 
the room, only allowing a space for a waiter to stand behind. 
Above the table were hooks fixed in the wall, at convenient 
distances, upon which the targets of the nobility, the gentry, 
and commanding officers, were hung up, by the learned antiqua- 
ries or heralds, whose office it was, by which means every mem- 
ber knew the place appointed for him to sit, for they were to 
take their places under their own targets, which were easily dis- 
tinguished by the coats of arms blazoned upon the outside of 
them, so that there was no dispute about precedence and pre- 
cminency, for by these methods it was impossible to mistake. 

^^/ 1RELA^'0. 237 

The table on' the right hand was appointed for the nobility, who 
were possessed of the greatest estates : that on the left hand 
was for the principal officers who had the highest posts in the 
army, and for the rest of the members. The end of the apart- 
ment was allotted to the antiquaries, the historians, the juc^es, 
the poets, and men of learning in all professions, who were al- 
lowed to sit in this convention. A space was left between the 
table and the wall for the attendants. Before the dinner every 
person was to go out of the room, and the members were to be 
called in by three loud blasts of a trumpet ; and several other 
ceremonies were observed, to raise the state and solemnity of 
this convention, which are particularly described in the reiga 
of Ollamh Fodhia, a preceding monarch. 

It was this prince, Tuathal Teachtmhar, that first laid the 
tribute, or chief rent, called Boiroimhe, upon the province of 
LeinBter, which he exacted as satisfaction for the death of two 
young princesses, his daughters, who lost their lives on the ac- 
count of the king of Leinster ;' their names were Fithir and 
Dairine. The king of this province, called Eochaidh Ainchean, 
was married to Daiiine, the eldest sister, and brought her away 
with him to his royal palace in Leinster. About a year after 
the marriage, this lascivious prince, not contented with the em- 
braces of his lady, craftily went to Tara, the court of Tuathal 
Teachtmhar, and told him, that his daughter Dairine was dead, 
•which loss could no way be repaired to him, unless he would 
condescend to bestow her sister upon him ; for he valued the 
honour of his friendship, which would be more sacred and last- 
ing by this alliance, and in some measure contribute towards the 
public peace of the kingdom. This request was complied with 
by the king of Ireland, and the princess Fithir was delivered to 
Eochaidh Ainchean, who married her, and took her with him 
to his own province. When she arrived she found her sister 
Bairine, and was so surprised and overcome with shame at tha 
sight of her, that she fainted away, and could not be recovered, 
for she instantly died. The unfortunate Dairine, not suspecting 
the virtue of her sister, was so affected with the loss of her 
that she threw herself upon the dead body, and her grief was so 
violent, that she fell into convulsions, which immediately put 
an end to her life. This melancholy accident is taken notice of 
by a very ancient poet, in this manner : 

Tavo princesses, tlie daughters of iUathal 
The fair Dahine, and the lovely Fithir, 
Fell by tiie ludt oi" Eochaida Aincheau j 


The virtuous Fithir died with guiltless :;uaine, 
And Dah'ine overcome with grief, 
"Would not survive her sister's fate. 

Tke Irish monarch, informed of the tragical end of his two 
daughters, resolved to revenge their death upon the king of Leiu- 
ster, whose treachery and falsehood had destroyed two of the 
most beautiful ladies in the whole kingdom. He therefore im- 
mediately dispatched messengers throughout the island, to com- 
plain of the indignity oflfered him ; and demanded assistance of 
the principal nobility and gentry, to vindicate his abused hon- 
our, and to chastise the baseness of the unfaithful Eochaidh. 
They received his letters, and, resenting the affront in a pro- 
per ma-nner as became good subjects, they raised an army with 
all expedition, and when they were well fitted out they were sent 
to Tuathal, to support the justice of his cause, and to invado 
the territories of the king of Leinster. 

Supported with a numerous and resolute body of troops, Tua- 
thal marched into the province of Leinster with fire and sword, 
making most dreadful depredations, and miserably distressing 
the inhabitants. Eochaidh, informed of the miseries of his peo- 
ple, designed at first to raise an army, and give battle to the 
enemy ; but when he understood the strength of the Irish forces, 
he found he was unable to make head against them in the field, 
and therefore, in the most submissive manner, desired a cessa- 
tion of arms, and by treaty to compound the dispute. The 
king of Ireland had it in his power to destroy and overrun the 
whole province, but being of a merciful disposition, he consented 
to withdraw his troops, and restrain them from plundering the 
country, if the king and people of Leinster would bind them- 
selves by solemn engagements, to pay a certain tribute, every 
second year, to him and his successors in the throne of Ireland, 
■which contract should oblige the king and the inhabitants of 
the province for ever. These terms were accepted by Eochaidh 
and his subjects, with great satisfaction ; and the tribute and 
acknowledgment, that was demanded by TuathaJ for the death 
of his daughters, was, threescore hundred cows, threescore hun- 
dred hogs, threescore hundred wethers, threescore hundred cop- 
per cauldrons, threescore hundred ounces of silver, and threescore 
hundred mantles. This tribute was ordered to be disposed of 
in this manner ; a third part of it was to be paid to the people 
of Oirgiallach, a third part to the inhabitants of Conacht, and 
the remaining part to Jobh Neill. A poet of great antiquity 
has transmitted an account of this transaction in the following 


lines, which exactly agrees with the old history called Boiroimlie 
Laighean, or the fine of Leinster. 

As tribute for the death of the two princesses, 

And in revenge for the base act of Eochaidh, 

The men of Leinster were obliged to pay 

To Tuathal, and all the monarchs after him, 

Threescore hundred of the fairest cows, 

And threescore hundred ounces of pure silver, 

And threescore hundred mantles richly woven. 

And threescore hundred of the fattest hogs, 

And threescore hundred of the largest sheep, 

And threescore hundred cauldrons strong and polish'd. 

This tribute Avas appointed to be sent, 

A third part to the inhabitants of Conacht, 

Another third to Oirgiall, and the rest 

To Jobh Neill. 

This taXywas known in Ireland by the name of Boiroimhe 
Laighean, or the tribute of Leinster, and was duly paid every 
second year during the reign of forty monarchs in Ireland, after 
Tuathal, who first received it ; as the poet has given us to uuder- 
Etand in this manner ; 

To forty royal monarchs of the isle, 
This heavy tribute was exactly paid, 
From the renowned Tuathal's restoration, 
To Fianachta's happy reign. 

The province of Leinster was delivered from the payment of 
this tax b}'' the intercession of St. Moling, who obtained from 
Fianachta a forbearance till Monday, as he expressed it. The 
gtiint, it seems, had an equivocal evasion, for he meant the Mon- 
day after Doomsday, by which artifice he overreached the king, 
who remitted the tribute. 

It has been observed that this fine of Leinster was paid for 
many ages ; but sometimes, when the kingdom of Ireland was 
invaded or disturbed by civil commotions, the king of the pro- 
vince would refuse to send his tax, which occasioned many wars 
and fatal disputes ; for the Irish monarchs would insist upon 
their right and defend it by arms, and by these contests and 
quarrels many of the nobility and gentry were slain on both 
sides, but the greatest calamities generally fell upon the province. 

During tha reign of Tuathal Teachtmhar, as the Irish records 
of Tara expressly mention, there were two general assemblies 
convened within the kingdom of Ireland : the first was sum- 
moned to the palace of Eamhain, in Ulster ; the other met at. 


Cruachau, in the province of Conacht. The most remarkable 
ordinances and laws, that were debated and established in these 
great councils of the nation, were those that follow. It was 
enacted, that all the annals, histories, ana other, public chroni- 
cles of the kingdom should be examined and revised, and the 
same method should be used in fixing their authority, as was 
ordained by the committee of the triennial parliament, in the 
reign of that illustrious monarch Ollamh Fodhla ; for great 
corruptions had been introduced from the murder of Fiachadh 
Fionoluidh, under the usurpation of the plebeians, and those 
conventions had been discontinued till the restoration of Tua- 

It was likewise established in that august assembly, by the 
king and his nobles, that the artificers, the tradesmen and handi- 
craftsmen of the kingdom, should be brought under regulation ; 
for which end the mechanics of all occupations, smiths, carpen- 
ters, musicians, and all other ingenious professions, were sum- 
moned to attend upon these triennial parliaments : when they 
came, a select committee was appointed to examine into the 
skill and abilities of every mechanip-^ and to make choice of sixty 
of the most eminent in their several professions, who had autho- 
rity by commission to govern and be supervisors over the rest. 
Every one of these had the proper extent of his jurisdiction set- 
tled ; and their office was to reform all abuses m their several 
professions, and suspend such as were unskilful, or by misman- 
agement brought their art into disrepute, from the exercise of 
their trades ; so that no person was allowed publicly to practise 
his art, or profess any mechanical employments, without a li-. 
cense from these commissioners, after he had been strictly exa- 
mined, and accepted, by reason of his abilities, in the trade and 
bu^ness he designed to follow. These supervisors, invested with 
this authority, were knownin the Irish language by the name of 
Jollanuidh, which signifies skilful and able mechanics. Before 
this time, it must be observed, that very few of the posterity of 
the Milesians professed any trade or occupation, but were gene- 
rally persons of some estate, or employed in the army, or in 
other public posts of the government. The mechanics of the 
country, in those days were the remnant of the Tuatha de 
Danans, who were permitted to stay in the kingdom, the Bri- 
gantes, and some c^ the principal plebeians : the lower branches 
of the Milesian race were the militia of the island, the historians, 
antiquaries, harpers, physicians, and Brehon or judges, and other 
public officers of the state, who would not submit to any manual 


labour, lest they should degrade and bring a stain upon the ho- 
nour of their families. This monarch, Tuathal Teachtmhar, 
was slain by his successor, Mai, the son of Rughruidh. 

Mai, the son of Rughruidh, seized upon the govern- 
-jQQ ment. His grandfather was Cathbhadha, son of Giall- 

chadha Finn, son of Fionchadha, son of Muireadhuagh, 
son of Fiachadh Fionnamhaig, son of Iriel Glunmar, son of Con- 
nall Cearnach, son of Amergin Jargiunaig, son ot Gas Triilsigh, 
son of Fachtna, son of Cana, son ol Gionga, son of Rughruidh 
More, (from whom Clana Rugbruidhe obtained its name,) a 
descendant from the posterity of Ir, the son of Milesius, king ol 
Spain. He filled the throne of Ireland t jur years, and fell by 
the sword of Feidhlin Reachtmar, son ol Tuathal Teachtmhar 
I -J o Feidhlimhidh Reachtmar was his successor. He wa3 

the son of Tuathal Teachtmar, son of Fiachadli Fiono- 
luidh, derived from the royal line of Heremon, and wore tho 
crown nine years. The mother of this Irish monarch was 
Baine, the daughter oi Sgaile Balbh, the king of England. This 
prince was distinguished by the name ol Feidhlimhidh Reacht- 
mhar, because he governed his subjects, and administered jus- 
tice among them, by the most equitable law of retaliation.' 
Every" sentence and decree that he passed upon an offender 
was strictly conformable to this ancient law, which he enjoined 
with the same exactness in all the public judicatories oi the 
kingdom. If a criminal had defrauded another ot his cattle, 
his sheep, or any part of his property, or had destroyed the use 
ol a leg, an arm, or an eye, or of whatever nature the offence 
was, he was obliged to make satisfaction by this law. And by 
the dread of this severe though just decree, the inferior subjects 
of Ireland were terrified into humanity, integrity, and good 
manners, and became an honest and worthy peopxe. From this 
method of punishment and retribution was this prince distin- 
guished by the name of Feidhlimhidh Reachtmar : and Provi- 
dence rewarded him for the justice of his administration, for he 
did not fall by the sword, as did most ol his predecessors, but; 
died a natural death. 
■190 Cathaoir More, who was surnamed the Great, was 

the succeeding monarch. He was the son 01 Feidhlim- 
hidh Fionirglais, son of Cormac Gealta Gaoth, son of INiadh 
Corb, son of Concorb, son oi Modha Corb, son of Concha bhar 
Abbraruadhe, son of Feargus Fairge, a prince descended from 
tht posterity ol Heremon, and governed the kingdom three 


years. This king had thirty sons, as an old poet gives us to 
understand in this manner : 

Descended from the loins of Cathaoir More 
Were th rty j>rinces, most renowa'd in iiims. 
Most comely personages, and Tierces all. 

Yet we are assured that twenty of those princes died, and left 
no issue behii^d them ; the remaining ten married, and had 
many children. The names of those brothers who survived 
were Rosa Failge, Daire Barrach Breasal, Eineach Glass, Fear- 
gus, Oilioll, Criomthan Dearg Maisneach, Eochaidh Teimhin, 
Aongus, Fiachadh Baiceada, who was the youngest prince of 
the family. This last branch obtained the government of th-s 
province oi Leinster, and were kings of that country for many 

From Rosa, the eldest son of this monarch, Cathaoir More, 
who was surnamed Failge. which signifies the hero of the rings, 
descended the most princely and illustrious family of O'Connor 
Faly. The word Faly, it must be observed, is an erident cor- 
ruption of Failge, which in the Irish language signifies rings. 
For this prince Failge, who was the eldest son of the posterity 
01 Cathaoir More, was distinguished by the iionourable name of 
O'Connor Faly, or Failge ; as appears evidently from all the 
authentic records ot Ireland in general, and particularly by the 
p:enealogy, preserved through so many ages, of the illustrious 
family of O'Connor Faly, which testifies, that the hereditary 
princes oi Leinster successively retained the ancient title of 
Failge, m proof ot their royal extraction from Rosa Failge, 
whom they justly claim as the greatest ancestor of the family. 
And they have exertdd^ themselves as a posterity worthy of 
Buch progenitors j for they have shown themselves a valiant and 
generous tribe, tree and hospitable, and true patriots, when the 
cause oi their country required their arms : they were so free 
of their blood in its detence, that the family, in process of time, 
was reduced to a small number, for the bravery of this illus- 
trious house of Leinster exposed them to the gi*eatest dangers 
and difficulties, and they would never fi.y or retreat, though op- 
pressed by superior strength, but rather chose to sell their lives 
dearly upon the spot. From this prince, Rosa Failge, de- 
scended other noble families, as the O'Dempseys, lords of Clan- 
malier, and O'Dunne, with several others of principal note, as 
will be particularly observed when we oome to adjust the pedi- 
grees of tlie iniieoiaus. 

OP iiiELA?n>, 243 

Tt IS certain, that Fiachadh Baiceada, though a younger bro- 
, tiier to iiosa Failge, is placed in many books^of genealogies be- 
fore any of th.^ nine sons of Cathaoir More, who left issue be- 
hind .nem ; and for this reason, because the province of Lein- 
Bter was governed by more kings of his posterity than of any of 
th<} other brothers. From ^im desce-uded the princely families 
ot Mac Morough Cavanagh, in the Irish language Mac Murcha- 
diia Caomhanach, king of Leinster ; of O'Tool, in Irish O'Tua- . 
thail, who were some time the monarchs of that province ; of 
Byrn, in Irish O'Broin, who were not only kings of Leinster, 
out lords oi Wicklow, for many generations. From this Fia- 
chadh were derived likewise the noble families of the Murphys, 
in the Irish O'Murchudha ; of Bowling, in Irish O'Dunluing ; 
of Ryan, in Irish Eiain, and in sox^e chronicles of Ireland it 
is called O'Maoilriar. , of Cmsealagh, of O'Mulduin, of O'Cor- 
mac, o. O'Duffy, and many others. 

From Cairbre, the son of Concorb, who lived four generations 
before Cathaoir More, ware descended the families of O'Dwyre, 
in the Irish O'Duibhidir, who were kings of Carbry, Coillnama- 
nach, &c. 

From Conla, theson of Breasal Ereac, who preceded Catha- 
oir More by fourteen generations, whs derived the princely family 
of Fitz Patrick, in the Irish language Macgiollaphadruigh. who 
were the kings of Ireland for many ages,- and from the 'same 
noble stem proceeded the heroic tribe of O Braonain, of Vibh- 
duach, who were distinguished by their military achievements, 
and were some of the most renowned' champions of the times 
they lived in. 

A D . ^^^^ Ceadchathach, who for his valour obtained the 
125* *^^^^ ^^ *^^ -^^^^^ ^^ *^^ hundred battles, obtained the 
government. He was the son of Tuathal Teachtmhar, 
descended from the royal line of Heremon, and wore the crown 
twenty years ; but was at length slain by Tiobraidhe Tireach, 
son oi Mail, son o. itochruidhe, king of Ulster. He was bar- 
barously murdered in the territory of Tara, when he chanced to 
be alone and unattended by his guards; the executioners were 
fifty ruffians, disguised for that purpose in the habit of women, 
and employed by Tiobraidhe Tireach to fall upon him when op- 
portunity favoured, and put an end to his life. The mother of 
Conn Oeadchathach was Ughna, the daughter of the king of 
Denmark This prince was attacked, and so overpowered by 
Modha ISTuagufc, king of Munster, that he lost half his dominions. 


after he had been defeated in ten battles, and was forced to de- 
liver them into the possession of the conqueror. 

The mother of the viciorious Modha Nuagat was Sigoda, tb© 
daughter of Floin, son of Fiaohrad, of the Earnaidhe ; and the 
reason of his quarrel with the kmg of Ireland was, upon the 
account of the Earnaidhs, who were descended from the pos- 
terity of Fiachadh Fearmara, and derived from the princely stock 
9t Heremon. This family by continual victories had the bet- 
ter of the descendants of Heber Fionn, in Munster ; so that 
there were three, who at the same time raised pretensions tp 
the crown of that province Lughaidh Allathach, Daire Dorn- 
more, and Aongus. When Modha Nuagat perceived that the 
royal house of Heremon had possession of the government of 
Munster, he did not think it safe to stay in that province, but 
removed into Leinster, where he had his education and support 
with Daire Barrach, the son of Cathaon^ More. There grew an 
intimate friendsJiip between these two young princes ; so that 
Modha Nuagat requested of his royal companion, that he would 
favour his right, and supply him with sufficient forces to re- 
cover the crown of Munster. His friend complied, and imme- 
diately put him at the head of a stout body of troops. Modha, 
with his assistance, marches into the province in a hostile man- 
ner, and halted at Vibh Liathain • here Aongus made head 
against him, with a numerous army, and a fierce and bloody bat- 
tle commenced ; but after a sharp dispute, with doubtful suc- 
cess, Modha Nuagat was victorious, who routed the enemy, and 
pursued them so close, that he drove them out of Ikie province. 
This battle was fought upon a spot of ground fortunate for the 
conqueror ; for in the same place he fought the battle of Ard 

Aongus after this defeat, fled directly to Conn Ceadchathacb, 
the monarch of Ireland, and entreated his assistance ; the king 
supplied him with a reinforcement of fifteen thousand men ; with 
this army he enters the province of Munster, and, prompted by 
indignation and revenge, resolved to recover the crown he had 
lost, or die upon the spot. He halted at Crioch Liathain, where 
Modha Nuagac was ready to receive him, and offered him battle. 
The two armies engaged with great bravery, but the forces of 
Modha. accustomed to victory, broke through the adverse troops, 
and destroyed the greatest part of them, wilh tk u^rribie slaugh- 
ter, and put the rest to a general rout. 

Animated with this sx^JBcess, Modha Nuagat banished the 
Earnaidhi out of ths province of Mun^iter, but with this restnc- 


tion, that as many as submitted peaceaoly to his government 
might continue in the country. It was the assistance that Conn 
Ceadchathach gave to Aongus, that was the cause ot those 
dreadful wars between that king and Modha Nuagat ; but the 
Irish monarch was unfortunate in most engagements, for he 
lost the day in ten several battles. He was defeated in the bat- 
tle of Broisne, the battle Oi Sampaite, the battle of Greiue, the 
battle of Athlone, the battle oi Moigh Crioch, in which action 
Fiachadh Rioghf hada, the son of Feidhlimhidh Reachtmar, was 
slain ; the battle of Asail, the battle of Sliabh Mosaigh, the 
battle of Suamaigh, the battle of Gabhran, and the battle of 
Visnigh. And these contests and dissensions continued between 
the two princes, till Modha Nuagat, by a constant course of suc- 
cess, had .got possession of one half of the kingdom ; so that 
his territories extended from Gal way and Dablin, and Eiskir 
Heada was the bounds of his government. From this conquest 
the southern part of the kingdom is known to this day by the 
name of Leath, Modha, or Modha's half, who was the victorious 
prince we are now speaking of, and was likewise distinguished 
by the name of Eogan More. The northern part of the island 
is called to this time by the distinction of Leath Ciiinn, or 
Conn's half, from this Conn Ceadchathach, king of Ireland. 

Modha Nuagat had another opportunity of enlarging his con- 
quests, that could not, fail of success, and prevailing upon the 
affections of the people ; for it happened that seven years be- 
fore, an eminent druid, whom he retained in his family, disco- 
vered by his art that there should be a most dreadful famine 
throughout the island, and so great a scarcity oi provision, and 
the fruits of the earth, that the inhabitants would be compelled 
to feed upon one another's flesh, to preserve their lives ; and, 
therefore, to obviate these calamities, he advised him to support 
himself and his retinue, by feeding on fish and fowl, of which at 
that time there was great plenty in all parts of the kingdom ; 
by this means he had the advantage of saving all the corn, and 
other fruits for subsistence, when that desolation and misery 
should fall upon the land j and, as a farther provision against 
the approaching famine, he persuaded him to build storehouses, 
and to buy in all the corn of the country, and to lay out all tlie 
revenue of his province, that could be spared from other uses id 
the purchase. Modha Nuagat was so convinced of the integrity 
of the druid, that he gave belief to the prediction, and for the 
space of seven years he and his subjects lived upon fish and 
fowl, and secured the corn, and other necessaries of life, in gra- 



naries and proper places, and sent factors all over the kingdom, 
to buy all the provision that was exposed for sale^ as far as the 
whole income of his province would extend. At the time fore- 
told, there was a miserable scarcity throughout the whole island, 
and the people were reduced to the most desperate extremities; 
but when they were informed of the provident care of the prince 
of Munster, who had laid in great quantities of corn and other 
necessaries, they applied to him in great numbers, and relying 
upon his mercy and humanity, entreated him to support them 
with bread, and save the lives of the whole kingdom. Modha 
made use of this advantage, and though he resolved to relieve 
the miseries of the people, yet insisted upon an acknowledg- 
ment as an equivalent, and promised to assist them with corn 
in this distress, upon condition that they would submit to a 
constant tribute, and pay a tax to the crown of Munstei'. These 
terms were joyfully accepted by the starved petitioners ; and 
so the granaries and store-houses were opened, and necessaries 
were distributed, but with a sparing hand, among the people. 
The circiimstances ot this transaction are confirmed by the con- 
curring testimony ot an authentic poem, that begins thus, 
Eogan* More la mor a raith ; the lines are these ; 

Aiid now, alas ! came on the deadly year, 
'And dreadftd blasts infected all the air. 
The fields no chearful hopes of harvest bring, 
Nor tender buds foretel a coming spring, 
Nor bladed grass, nor bearded corn succeed, 
But scales of scurf and putrefaction breed ; 
And men, and beasts, and fowls, with hunger pined, 
And trees and plants in one destruction joined. 
The scattered vidgar search aroiuid the fields. 
And puck what^'er the withered herbage yields. 
Famished with want, the wUds and desarts tread, 
And fainting wander for their needful bread ; 
But, tired at length, unable to sustain 
Afflictive want, and hunger's pinching pain, 
They pray to Modha as a guardian god. 
And bless, with hands upheld, the place of his abode. 
*' Let fall,'' they cry, " some pity on our grief, 
" If what we beg be just, and we deserve relie£" 
The prince, with pity moved extended wide 
His granaries, and all their wants supplied ; 
But, as a most deserved reward, commands 
A tax, and lays a tribute on their lands. 

This prince, Modha Nuagat, it must be observed, was known 
bj lour different names ; he was called Eogan Fiahfheaohacu, 

OF ItiELAND. 217 

Eogaii More, Eogan Taithlioch ; and Modha Nuagat ; as au 
ancient poet has given us to understand in this manner ; 

The prince of Munster is known in history 
By four most noble titles, Eogan Mare, 
Eogan Fidhfheathach, Eogan Taithlioch, 
And Modha Nuagat. 

To understand the true occasion why this prince was distin- 
guished by these several appellations, the carious may coasuit 
that ancient treatise, called the Etymology of Names, which will 
give him satisfaction concerning the derivation of them, Eogan 
More was the son of Modha Neid, and was married to Beara, 
the daughter of Heber More, son of Miodhna, king of Castile, 
in the kingdom of Spain. By this Spanish princess he had one 
son and two daughters ; the name of his son was Oilioll Olam, 
the eldest daughter was called Sgoithneamh, and the youngest 
Coinioll, This is confirmed by a poet of great antiq^ntty in 
these verses i 

The Spanish princess, beautiful Beara, 
Daughter of Heber, the Castilian king, 
Was mother of the valiant Oilioll Olum, 
And of the virtuous ladies Sgoithneamh 
And Coinioll. 

Modha Nuagat, the king of Munster, was at length treacher- 
ously slain by Conn Ceadchathach, the monarch of Ireland, who. 
as some chronicles assert, killed him in his bed, in the morning 
of <the day when they intended to fight the battle of Maigh 
Leane. The reason why this kiitig Conn was surnamed the hero 
of a hundred battles, was, because he subdued the provincialists, 
and triumphed over them in 80 many engagements ; to confirm 
this^ we have the testimony of the following lines : 

The warlilte Conn came off with victory 
In Mvmster, and an hundred battles won ; 
So many times with laurels was he crownod, 
And triumphed over Ulster, and in Leinstcr 
He fought in sixty battles w ith success. 

But the good fortune oi this prince at last forsook him, and he 
was slain by Tiobraide Tireach, as before mentioned. 

Conaire was the succeeding monarch. He was the son 

■J of Modha Lamhadh, son of Luigheach Allathach, son of 

Gairbre Cromcinn, son of Daire Dornmore, son oi Cair- 


bre Fionumor, son of Conair More, son of Eidersgeoil, descenciGd 
from the royal line of Heremon, and governed the kingdom 
seven years. He was killed by Neimhidh, the son of Sruibu- 
chin. ' The mother of this prince was Eithne, the daughter of 
Lughaidh, son of Daire. From this Conaire, ki ^g of Ireland, 
descepdcd the Dailraids, in Scotland, as did the Baisgnigh froia 
Leim Congculionn, as the old poet obcerves in this manner ; ^ 

The noble tribe of the Dailriads 

Descended from the illudtrioas Conaire; 

Mi.sgraidh proceeded from the royal stock 

Of the same monarch ; and the famed Baisgnigh 

From gi'eat Conge alion's loins their hneage di'ev/. 



Art Aonfhir, the Melancholy, sat next on the throne of 
Ireland. He was the son of Conn Ceadchathach, son of 
Feidhlimhidh Reachtmhar, a prince of the posterity of 
Heremon, and reigned thirty years. His queen was Meidhbh 
Leathdearg, the daughter of Conann Cualann, and from this prin- 
cess Rath Meidhbhe, near Tara, obtained its name. The cause of 
this monarch's being distinguished by the title of Art Aonfhir 
was, because he was the sole survivor of his two brothers, wiio 
were unfortunately killed by the brothers of Conn, the hero of 
the hundred battles. The names of these princes were Conia 
and Crionna ; and the brothers of Conn, who slew them, were 
called Eochaidh Fionn, and Fiachadh Suidhe. This transaction 
is confirmed by the testimony of an ancieuo poet, whose autho- 
rity was- never yet questioned, in these lines i 

Eochaidh Fionn, and Fiachadh Suidhe, 
Bi-others of Conn, the hdl-o of the island. 
Destroyed the princes Conla and Crionna, 
Brothers of Art ; at whose mihappy fate 
He grieved, and with continued sorrow pined, 
And so was called The melancholy Ai't. 

Conn, the monarch of Ireland, had six children ; the two sorifi, 
who were killed, as before mentioned, and Art, who ^'ucceedcd 
hhn in the government ; and three daughters, -whof-.e names 
were Maoin, Sadhbh, and Sarah, as an old poet gives as to uu- 
derstand in these verses , 

Six children from the royal loins of Conn 
Descended; tlu'ee brothers, worthy of a crown. 
Conla, Crionna, and melancholy Art; 
Three daughters, beautiful and virtuous, 
Maoin, Sadhbh and Saralu 

01" IRELAND. .249 

The princes Conla and Crionna were slain by their uncles, 
their father's brothers ; the princess Sarah was married to Co- 
naire, the son of Modha Lamhadh, by whom she had three sons, 
called the three Cairbres ; their names were Cairbre Rioghfada, 
Cairbre Baschaoin, and Cairbre Muisg, The posterity of Cair- 
bre Rioghfhada, the eldest of the brothers, removed into Scot- 
land, and are tiistinguished in that country by the name of Dail- 
riadas. One of the descendants of this prince, who was called 
Eochaidh Munramhar, had two sons, whose names were Earcha 
and Tolchu ; from the eldest of these brothers were derived the 
Dailriadas of Scotland ; from the youngest sprang, in a lineal 
descent, the Dailriadas that settled in the province of Ulster, 
and were called Ruthach. The princess Sadhbh, another daugh- 
ter of Conn, was married to Macniadh, the son oi Lughdheach, 
derived from the posterity of Ith, the son of Breogan, by whom 
ehe had a son, whose name was Lughaidh, and sometimes he wag 
distinguished by the title ot Mac Conn. Her husband Mac- 
niadh died, but she was soon married to Oilioll Olum, by whom 
she had nine sons ; seven of these young princes were unfortu- 
nately killed in the battle of Magh Muchruime, as Oilioll Olum 
has confir.ned in a poem composed by himself. 

The tender father for his sons laments ; 
Seven princes, the only hopes of my old age, 
Fell in one day : Eogan, Dubmerchon, Modchorb, 
Lughaidh, Eochaidh, and Diothorba. 

The two brothers that escaped the battle oi Magh Muchrnime, 
were called Cormac Cas and Cian. And though Oilioll Olum 
had nineteen sons in the whole, nine by the daughter of Conn, 
and ten by other women, yet but three of them left any poste- 
rity j as we have sufficient reason to believe, from the testimony 
of an ancient poet in this manner, 

Nineteen j'oung heroes were the valiant sons 
Of OQioll Olum, a renowned prince ; 
But, by untimely fate destroyed, sixteen 
Childless ; three alone -were blessed with issue, 
Vnd to posterity delivered down 
The princely line ol: tiie Heberian race. 

The sons of Oilioll Olum, that had children, he had by hia 
queen Sadhbh, the daughter of Conn, the monarch ot Ireland. 
The eldest ol the three brothers was called Eogan More, and he 
fell in the battle of Magh Muchruime, by the victorious sword 


of a Welsh hero, Beine Briot, who was sou to the king of Waleg, 
This prince, Eogan More, left a son behind him, called Fiachadh 
Muilleathan, from whom descended all the illustrious families of 
the Clancarthy Mores, the Mac Carthys, OSullivans, and the 
O'Bryens, with all the spreading branches of those noble tribes, 
who have appeared very glorious in the Irish nation. The 
mother of this Fiachadh Muilleathan was Muncha, the daughter 
ot Dil da Chreaga, and he was born at Ath UisioU, that lies 
upon the river Suir. He was distinguished by the title of Fia- 
chadh Fear da Liach, by reason of the sorrowful news which was 
brought ; for the word Fiach in the Irish language signifies news. 
The melancholy account that was brought, was the death of his 
father, Eogan More, at the battle of Magh Muchruime, soon 
after he was conceived, and before he was born, and the painful 
death of his mother, who died in travail with him. When he 
came to the years of understanding, he was made acquainted with 
the unhappy fate of both his parents, which gave occasion to his 
name ; and he was afterwards called Fiachadh Fear da Liach, 
upon account of the sorrow and grief he conceived at the loss 
of them. Oilioll Olum composed a poem upon the celebrated 
battle of Magh Muchruime, where this transaction is rec )ided 
in an elegant and pathetic manner : the verses are these : 

The prince, with more than common grief oppress'd, 

Heard the strange death, and sorrow swelled his breast. 

His father, brave in arms, untimely slain; 

His mother, torn asuiidei, died with pain 

In childbuth. Thus o'ercome "vvith sad surprise, 

A stream of fruitless teaxs ran tricldmg from his' eyes. 

This young prince was also called Fiachadh Muilleathan. 
What gave occasion to this name was this : his mother's father, 
it seems, was endued with a prophetic skill ; and, among others 
of his predictions, he foretold to his daughter, that, if she could 
forbear the delivery (for she was then in travail) for the space 
of twenty-four hours, the child that should be born should bo 
advanced to great honour, and one day fill the throne of Ireland ; 
but if he came into the world immediately, he should never be 
promoted to a crown, but should prove an eminent druid, and 
be of principal note for his divinations. The mother, though 
in the utmost pain, resolved, if possible, to pi event the birth ; 
for it was her ambition she designed to gratify, though it coso 
her her life, and she told her father she would take care tlid 
cuiid sihould not bs buru within the time, uuicss it forced a vvcc/ 


tlitougii tbe sides of her belly; and accordingly, as an expedient, 
she instantly ran into a ford of the river Suir, which ran near 
her father'fc; house, and, wading into a proper depth, she sat, for 
the ep3ce of t\-enty-four hours, in the cold water, upon a stone, 
whicb uiTccrually prevented her delivery. Upon her return 
home the child A^as born, but, as the just reward of her pride, 
the fainted atua expired. This transaction gave a name to the 
infant, who was called Fiachadh Muilleathan ; for the crown of 
hi. iiea^ was, by his mother's sitting upon the stone, pressed in 
and Liade flat, and in allusion he was known by the title of 
Muilleathan, which word, in the Irish language, signifies flat- 

The second son of Oilioll Olum was Cormac Cas, from whom, 
in a lineal descent, are derived the renowned tribe of the 
Dailgeais, or the O'Bryens, MacMahons, the Macnamaras, other- 
wise called Sioll Aodh, with many other branches of noble and 
heroic bloody as shall be particularly observed in its proper 
place. To this son, Cormac Cas, Oilioll Olum demised the 
perpetual government of the province of Munster, after his 
decease ; but when he had intelligence that Fiachadh Muilleathan 
was born, he thought proper to alter his will, and in this manner 
ettled the succession : that his son, Cormac Cas, after his death, 
should wear the crown of Munster during his natural life, any 
then it should devolve to Fiachadh Muilleathan, the son of 
Eogan More ; the sovereignty .then was to return into the 
family of Cormac Cas, and so the province was to be governed 
alternately by the heirs of these two illustrious tribes, without 
quarrels or disputes ; and the will of Oilioll Olum was held in 
that veneration by his posterity, that there were no contests 
between the two families for the crown of Munster for many 

The third son of Oilioll, that left issue behind him, was Cian , 
from which prince descended the most noble family of O'Carrol, 
who were kings oi Ely for many generations ; from him like- 
-wise derived O'Meachair, O'Hara, O'Gara, and O'Connor Ciau- 

It must be observed that Oilioll Olum was the first king that 
reigned- in Munster, of the royal line of Heber Fionn, and he 
begins the list of those princes in the royal tables, and the public 
records of the kingdom : of those, I mean, who presided over 
the two divisions of that province, for Oilioll Olum was in pos- 
session of the government before he had expelled Mac Con, 
(Mac Con, who descended fi'om the posterity of Dairine, of the 


noble line of Lnghaidh, the son of Ith, son of Breogan,) and 
was a branch of the family of Deirgthene, whose great ancestor 
was Heber Fionn. When the tribe of Dairine had the command 
in the province of Munster, the descendants of Deirgthene v;ere 
admitted into the principal offices of the state, and were the 
established judges of the country ; and when the posterity of 
Deirgthene obtained the government, the family of Dairine wcfe 
invested with a great share of authority, they preside^i in the 
public courts, and administered justice to the subjects ; and this 
succession in the posts of honour and trust continued till 
Mac Con was detected of corruption in pronouncing judgment, 
for which he was degraded by Oilioll Olum, who as a just 
punishment banished him the island. 

In this state of exile Mac Con continued for some time, but 
being a person of a factious and turbulent disposition, he began 
to think himself injured, and resolved upon revenge, and by 
violence to return into his country, against the express sentence 
of the king. To accomplish his design he projected an open 
invasion ; but having no forces to support him, he applied him- 
self to Beine Briot, son to the king of Wales, who promised to 
assist him with a competent number of troops, and fix him in 
the possession of his authority ; and the more easily to engage 
this young prince, the crafty conspirator assured him he had a 
considerable party in the island, who resented the injustice of 
his sentence, and were ready to declare in his favour as soon as 
he arrived upon the coast. 

Confiding in the integrity of Mac Con, the prince of Wales 
raised a numerous army, and enlisted into his service men of all 
nations, that offered to follow him in the expedition ; and when 
he had provided a sufficient number of transports he weighed 
anchor, and landed upon the Irish shore. When they arrived 
they held a council of war, where it was resolved to dispatch a 
herald to the melancholy Art, who was then monarch of the 
island, and require him to resign the government, or to give 
them battle, and decide the contest with the sword. The chal- 
lenge was a surprise to the kinsr, but he accepted the summons, 
and sent orders to the general of his militia to attend upon him 
with his trained hands ; for he had raised an army to oppose 
the insolent invaders, which if it should give way, and offer to 
fly, he was ordered to assist with his fresh body, and by that 
means, recover the fortune of the day. But the perfidious Fionn 
had been bought off from the service of the king, and had sold 
his loyalty to Mac Con for a sufiicient bribe which engaged him 


to get out of tlie way, and carry himself as a neuter in the 

The king of Ireland soon perceived the treachery oi his gene- 
ral, who not only refused to attend upon him in his own person, 
but seduced the principal officers oi the militia, and engaged 
them to be absent, and not appear in the fight y but these dis- 
couragements did not prevent the king irom making head 
against the enemy ; and accordingly, after he had laid a solemn 
curse upon the traitor, he marched with the forces he had 
against Mac Con, who had drawn out his army, and was ready 
to receive him. The Irish troops were supported by the assist- 
ance of nineteen sons of Oilioll Olum,* who brought with them 
a considerable body ; and the army of the invaders consisted 
chiefly of foreigners, of all nations, but were well disciplined by 
the care and vigilance of Beine Briot, the prince of Wales, who 
was an accomplished general, oi a robust constitution of oody, 
and for his courage and conduct in arms was one of the most 
renowned heroes of the age. The fight began with great fury 
on both sides, and victory was in suspense for some hours, but 
the king of Ireland, for want of his militia, who were resolute 
and hardy soldiers, was forced to give way to the superior force 
of tiie foreign troops, who followed their blow, and put the Irish 
to a general rout. In this action, called the battle ot Magh 
Muchruime, was Art, monarch of Ireland, and the son of Conn, the 
hero of the hundred battles, unfortunately slain, by Lughhaidh 
Laga, the brother of Oilioll Olum, who took part with the in- 
vaders, and turned the fortune of the day. The death of the 
king so dispirited his troops, that they fled instantly, and were 
pursued with great slaughter by the conquerors, who in that 
engagement destroyed the bravest soldiers of the kingdom, for 
they gave no quarter, but put all to the sword. Among the 
slain were seven of the sons of Oilioll Olum, that he had by 
Sadhbh, the sister of Art, the king oi Ireland, and daughter oi 
Conn, the renowned hero ot the hundred battles. 

It must be observed in this place, that Oilioll Olum was pro- 
perly called Aongus ; but his name was changed upon this 
occasion. , It happened that Oilioll Olum, being an amorous 
prince, offered violence to a young lady, whose name was Aina, 
the daugher of Ogamuill : the lady, resenting this injury, re- 
solved to revenge herself upon the ravisher, and finding an 
opportunity, w.hen she was in bed with him, observing he was 
asleep, bit off part of his ear. By this action she thought she 
had fixed a budge of intamy upon Oilioll for the abuse he had 


offered her, and in somo measure revengecl the death of her 
father, whom he slew. This transaction, as some chroniclea 
assert, was the cause Ox changing his name. 

But there are i-ecords of some authority, that give another 
account ot this matter, and relate, that he received the title of 
Oilioll Olum, iiom the words Oil Oil, which, in the Irish Ian- 
gaage, signify shame or reproach. This prince, it seems, waa 
distinguished by three remarkable blemishes, which were es- 
teemed a great disgrace to him, and attended upon him to hia 
grave. He was deformed, as was observed before, by the loss of 
the greatest part of his ear ; his teeth were exceeding black, and 
his breath very offensive, and had a nauseous smell. These 
ipaperfections befel him upon the account of the rape he com- 
mitted upon the young lady, who had no sooner bit his ear thau 
he seized a spear or partizan, that was placed near him, and, 
thrusting it through her body, he fixed her to the ground. The 
head of the spear struck against a stone, and, by the force of 
the blow, the point of it was b3nt ; Oilioll having drawn the wea- 
pon out 01 her body, put the point ol the spear into his mouth, 
intending to straighten it wit a his teeth, but the metal, being 
envenomed with a strong poison, changed the colour of his teeth 
into black, and had that effect upon his breath, that h after- 
wards had a nauseous smell not to be endured. These were tho 
three blemishes, which gave the name of Oilioll Olum to thi«» 
prince, who was the less to be excused, because he had warning 
long beiore. by a prediction, concerning this spear, which fore- 
told that he should be afHicted with three great misfortunes, if 
he sufiered the point of that spear to touch a stone, or if he 
applied it to his teeth, or attempted with it to kill a woman ; 
but the prophecy found no credit with Oilioll Olum, for which 
reason he deservedly fell under those calamities, which occasioned 
the change of his name, and which he carried with him to his 

Luighaidh, who had the name of Mac Con, by his vic- 
■j ^.y tory got possession of the government. He was the 
son of Macniadh, son of Luighdheach, son of Daire, sou- 
of Firuillne, son of Eudbuilg, son of Daire, son of Siothbuilg, 
Bon of Firuillne, son of Deagamhrach, son of Deagfia Dearg, 
son of Deirgtheine, son of Nuagatt Airgtheach, son of Luch- 
taire, son of Logha Feidhiioch, son of Ereamhoin, son of 
Eadamhuin, sou of Gosamhuin, son of Sin, son of Maithin, son of 
Logha, son of Eadamhuin, son of Mail, son ot Luighaidh, sou 
Qi itfi, son ot Breogau, and filled the throne of Ireland thirty 

or IRELAND. 25S 

years. The mother of this princ« was Sadhbh, the daughter of 
Conn, as before mentioned. He obtained the name ot Mac 
Con from a greyhound that was called Ealoir Dearg, that be- 
longed to Oilioll Olum. This king, in his infancy, was edu- 
cated in the court of Oilioll Olum, and being a child of a very 
weak and tender constitution, he was very fretful and difficult 
to be pleased j but when he could not be pacified by other 
methods, those who had the care of him procured a young 
greyhound for him to play with, which, by its fondness and 
diverting postures, so amused the child, that he conceived a 
wonderful kindness for the dog, and was never easy or contented 
without him •, and from this playing with the greyhound, he 
was known by the name of Mac Con, but he was properly 
called Lughaidh. The victory he obtained in the battle of 
Magh Muchruime put him in possession of the kmgdom ; for 
within the compass of a week, by pursuing his success, he fixed 
himself in the sovereignty of the whole island, and governed 
it securely thirty years ; as is particularly mentioned in the 
following verses, transcribed from a very ancient poem, which 
begins in this manner, Cnocha cnoc os ciou iilFe. 

Within seven days the fortunate Lughaidk 
Obtained the scepter of the western isle ; 
And reign'd in honour and prosperity, 
For thirty years, as ancient records tell, 
But he was at last slain by treachery, 
Sitting 'n state in the assembly. ^ 

It must be observed, that this Mac Con, the Irish monarch 
we are speaking of, was not a descendant from the posterity of 
Heber Fionn, as he* is expressly mentioned to be, in the poerii 
that begins with these words, Coniare caomh chaomhuin chuin, 
but was derived from the family of Lughaidh, the son of Ith, 
son ot Breogan ; Ith, and Milesius, the king of Spain, who was 
otherwise called Gollamh, were brothers' children; and not- 
Vv'ithstanding that Lughaidh, the son of Ith, and his posterity, 
were descended from Gadelas in a lineal succession, yet they 
are not to be reckoned of the line of Milesius, but were cousin- 
germains to that family : and this account is confirmed by the 
testimony of a poet of great credit and antiquity, who, speak- 
ing of the three renowned tribes that were derived from the 
posterity of Lughaidh, the son of Ith, has these verses ; 

Three princes, famous in the Irish annals, 
O Cubhthaig, generous and hos^icabie j 

256 THE GENr.RAL niSTl-RV 

O Floin Arda, invincible naC brave ; 
And tlie most valiant Heidersgeoil, 
Were not descended from the royal line 
Of great Milesius. 

From Lughaidh, the son of Ith, the following surnames de- 
duced their original; O'Laoghaire, in the English language 
called O'Laoery, or Leary; O'Baire of Aronn, in Carbry ; Magh 
Fianchy, of Darthruidlie ; Magh Amalgadh, of Callruidhej 
O'Curnyn, and Mac Aillin, in the kingdom of Scotland. 

This Mac Con, it must be understood, was the third monarch 
of Ireland, who was of the royal line of Ith. The first monarcii 
of that family was Eochaidh Eadgothach, the son of Daire, who 
possessed the government of the island four years, and fell by 
the sword oi Chermana, the son of Eibhric, the son of Ir. The 
second of that line was Eochaidh Apthach, who sat upon the 
throne one year, and was slain by t ionn, the son of Bratha. 
The third, descended from this illustrious house, was this Mao 
Con ; as appears evidently by the authority of an ancient poet, 
who has transmitted to us the following verses : 

From the most noble race of Ith descended 
Three princes, who the Irish scepter swcxy'd j 
Eochaidh Eadgothach, Eochaidli Apthach, 
And the renowned Lughaidh, wnu reveng'd 
The cruel death of their great ancestor. 

Comain Eigis, the son of Fearcio, for^ned a conspira'^y by the 
persuasion of Cormac, the son of Art, the Melancholy, against 
Mac Con, and slew hin;i with a remarkable spear, known in the 
Irish language by the name oi Ei-hcie. This treacherous act 
was committed at Feimhin, in Leiuster, as ^e king was return- 
ing from Munster. The uniortunate journey of the king into 
that province, was occasioned by the prediction of his druid, 
who foretold that he should not wear the crown of Ireland for 
half a year, if he removed, the place ot his residence from the 
royal house ot Tara. Influenced by this prophecy, he came to 
Munster, to solicit the friendship and assistance of his relations 
in that province, who descended from OilioU Olum ; but this 
family, instead of favouring his request, resolved to destroy him ; 
for they could not forget the revenge they owed him for the 
death of Eogan More and his brothers, whom he slew in the 
battle 01 Magh Muchruima. Mac Con, upon this repulse, re- 
turned back to Leinster, where he was treacherously killed, in 
the manner betore-meutioued. He lost his life in the field 


called, in the Irisli language, Gort an oir, which signifies the 
Golden field, at Magh Feimhin, near Dearg Rath, that lies on 
the north side of Ath na garbat, or the Chariot's ford. The 
place is known to this day by the name of Gort an oir, or the 
Golden field ; which title it received, because Mac Con, when 
he was slain, was distributing his liberality, and rewarding the 
poets and principal artists of the kingdom with large sums of 
gold, when the murderer came behind him undiscovered, as he 
was standing near a large rock, and most barbarously thrust 
him through with a spear. 

Feargus, who was distinguished by the name of Black 
^."g Teeth, was the succeeding monarch. He was the son 
of Fionnchada, son of Eogamhuin, son of Fiathach, son 
of Finn, son of Daiie, son of Dluthach, son of Deisin, son of 
Eochaidh, son of Sin, son of Rosin, son of Trein, son of Roth- 
rein, son of Airiondil, son of Maine, son of Forga, son of Fear-- 
adhach, son of Oilloilaran, son ot Fiach Fearmara, son of Aon- 
gus Tuirmheach, descended from the royal line of Heremon, 
and sat upon the throne one year. It was in the reign of this 
prince, that the inhabitants of Ulster expelled Cormac by force 
out of that province into Conacht, notwithstanding he made an 
entertainment at Magh Breag, and feasted them plentifully. It 
was at this feast the king of Ulster commanded one o his ser- 
vants to set fire to Cormac's beard with a lighted candle, which 
was accordingly done, and then he was banished the province. 
The three prmcipal persons, concerned in the disgrace and exile 
of this noble man, were the three Feargus's, the sons of Fion- 
chada, eon of Eogamhuin ; their names were, Feargus, who was 
surnamed Dubhdheadach, or Black Teeth , the second brother 
was called Feargus, surnamed Caisfhiachlach, which signifies 
Crooked Teeth ; and the youngest was Feargus, surnamed Folt- 
leabhair, or Longhaired. 

Cormac, inflamed with resentment at this ungenerous usage 
applied for protection to Thady, the son of Cein, son of Olioll 
Olum, who was a person oi authority and great interest in the 
country of Ely. When he arrived he represented his misfor- 
tunes, and the indignities he had received, with so moving an 
address, that the generous Thady promised to support bim 
against his oppressors, and restore him to his just rights, if he 
would engage to settle a tract oi hand upon him, after he had 
trmmphed over his enemies. Cormac joyluUy complied with 
the conditions, and gave him security, that he should be pnt 
into possession of as much land as he could surround with Lis 


chariot npon the day of battle, v^Len the fight was over, a^.-*^ he 
had obtained a complete yictory o v&rthe three brothers. Thady 
relying upon his honour and integrity, resolved to cspouoC nis 
cause with all imaginable vigour ; anf, to intimidate" bis ene- 
mies, he told Cormac that he knew "where the invincible hero, 
Lughaidh Laga, lay concealed; and assured him, that if he 
could prevail upon that bold champion to appear at the head 
of his troops, and present himself in the front of the battle, 
the day would be his own ; and, as an undisputed sign of suc- 
cess, the heads of the three Feargus's, he maJIe no question, 
would be cut off by this intrepid warrior, and laid a^: his feei. 
He further informed him, that this stout soldier had retired, 
and lived an obscure life at Atharla, near Sliabh Grctt; where 
he would be sure to find him. 

Encouraged by thqjse assurances, Cormac went mstantiy to 
Atharla, and upon a strict search he found the bravo Lughai:lh 
in a poor despicable cottage, lying along upon the groand, with 
his face upwards. When he perceived him in that posture, he 
pricked him gently with the end of his lance ; upon which the 
old soldier demanded, with a stern countenance, who it was that 
presumed to disturb him in so insolent a manner. Cormac re- 
plied mildly, and told him his name ; and Lughaidh answered, 
that if he had been pleased, he might justly have taken away 
his life, in revenge for the death of his father Art, the Melan- 
choly, who fell by his hand. Cormac told him, he thought he 
was obliged to make him a suitable recompense for that action ; 
that I promise you, says Lughaidh, for I will make you a pre- 
sent of a king's head in the time of battle. By this time 
Cormac had made known his business ; and after he had received 
his word that he would assist him to the utmost of his life, and 
give him revenge over his enemies, they set forward together 
cowards Ely, where Thady, the son of Cein. kept his residence. 

By this time Thady had raised a numerous army, with a de- 
sign to destroy the province of Ulster with fire and sword ; and 
was the more easily induced to engage in this expedition, be- 
cause Feargus Dubhdheadach, or the Black Teeth Prince, who 
was the elder brother, had some time before slain the father of 
Thady in the battle of Samhna. This resolute :^rmy marched 
to Brugh mac anoig, and Criona chin comar, where the brothers 
were ready to receive them with the forces they had raised, and 
resolved to engage at all events. In this place was the memo- 
rable battle of Criona fought, between Cormac and the three 
Feargus's; but Thady would not permit Cormac to enter iu.o 

OF IRELA^^). 259 

l;he %lit, but persuaded him to be spectator of tlie action upoa 
the top of a hill^ uear the field where the battle was fought, aud 
expect the event. 

The sign was given, and both armies engaged with signal 
courage, and the victory was undetermined for some hours ; but 
the valiant Lughaidh resolved to turn the fortune of the^daj, 
and, rushing into the hottest of the action, made his way 
through heaps of slain, till he came to Feargus Foltleabhair, or 
the Long-haired, whom he fell upon with desperate fury, and 
cut off his head ; he retired with the spoil of his enemy in his 
hand, and coming to the place where Cormac was supposed to 
be, he advanced up to him, and threw the head of this Feargus 
at his feet. 

It seems that Cormac, apprehensive of some danger from the 
fury and outrageous passion of Lughaidh, who, in the heat of 
the battle, when his blood was in ferment, would divert himself 
with the slaughter of his friends and enemies without distinction, 
had before the engagement changed his habit with one of his 
servants, whose name was Deilion Druth. Lughaidh therefore 
brought the head of his enemy, and throwing it at the feet of 
Cormac, as he imagined, demanded whether that was the head 
of Feargus, king of Ireland. The servant, assuming an air of 
state to himself, answered him, that it was not. The champion 
immediately forced his way into the hottest of the battle, and 
dealing his blows terribly about him, he met Feargus Chais?-. 
f hiaclach, or the Crooked Teeth, and rushed upon him so via*-' 
lently, that he slew him without much resistance, and likewise ^ 
cut off his head. With this trophy he returned to the supposed 
Cormac, and, showing him the face, asked him, was not that the 
head of the king of Ulster? The disguised servant replied 
it was not his, but the head of his brother. Enraged with tiiese 
disappointments, he resolved to accomplish his purpose, and 
with dreadful slaughter of the enemy, he made his way to the 
kisig, whom he engaged with such fury, that he slew him before 
be could be relieved, and brought his head away with him in 
triumph. He came joyfully to the supposed Cormac, and de- 
manded whether that was not the head of Feargus Dubhdheadach, 
king of Ulster ? The servant, when he had examined .the face, 
answered, it was. The victor, proud of his conquest, threw the 
head with his whole force at the servant, who appeared in the 
habit of his master, and the blow was so violent' that he fell 
dead at his feet. This happy stratagem preserved the life of 
Cormac j for this Lughaidh was so untractable and fierce, that 


in his fury he delighted iu bloodshed, and were it not for the 
disguise, Cormac must certainly have fallen a sacrifice to the 
passion of this ungovernable and savage warrior. But Lug- 
haidh, notwithstanding his reputation and conduct in arms, was 
wounded desperately, and lost so much blood that he fainted 
away. The fight was bloody on both sides, and the victory was 
won with great loss, for the army of Ulster, though obliged to 
give way, rallied seven times with bravery ; but the victorious 
Thady, the son of Cein, with his hardy troops, pierced into the 
main body of the enemy, and, after a sharp contest, put them 
to the rout, and drove them out of the field ; he pursued them 
with great slaughter from Criona to Glaise an Eara, near Drom 
lonasgluinn ; as the learned Flanagan, whose authority is indis- 
putable, observes in his poem iu this manner ; 

Feig Mac Cein, from Rath Cro, subdued 
The army of Ulster tho' seven times they rallied, 
And fought ; but, with superior force o'erbome, 
They fled, and were pursued from Rath Criona 
To Ard Cein. 

After the action was over, the valiant Thacly, the son of Cein, 
was obliged by the sore pain of the wounds he received, to be 
carried out of the field in his chariot ; for he was miserably 
galled by three spears, in three several places of his body. His 
design was to surround as large a tract of land as he was able ; 
for this, as was before o bserved, was to be his reward, if he came 
off with victory. Accordingly, he commanded the driver of his 
chariot to make all possible expedition ; for in the circuit of the 
day he proposed to encompass the royal palace of Tara, and to 
drive on as far as Dublin. But the anguish of his wounds, 
and a large effusion of blood, had reduced him to so weak a 
state, that he perfectly languished ; yet, intent upon the enlarg- 
ing his territories, he called to the driver, and asked him, 
whether he had yet surrounded the royal seat of Tara ? tha 
'servant told him he had not ; upon which Thady was so enraged, 
that he summoned all his strength, and flung his spear so vio- 
lently, that he transfixed his body, and he instantly dropped 
the reins and died. 

• At this time Cormac came to the place, and perceiving 
Thady in tiiat miserable condition, by the pain of his wounds, 
called to a surgeon that was in his company, and with the 
most barbarous design commanded him, under a pretence ol 
dressing one of his wounds, to convey an ear of barley into it ^ 


into the second wound he ordered him to inclose a small black 
worm ; and in the third he was to conceal the point of a rusty- 
spear ; and then he was to take care, in the administering of 
his medicines, that the wounds should seemingly be cured, and 
the surface of the skin closed, bat they were not to be searched 
to the bottom, in order to give him the more pain, and by de- 
grees to affect his life. This I think is the most ungrateful 
instance of cruelty to be met with in the Irish history ; but 
Thady was a person of great courage, and had a brave army at 
his command, which gave Cormac a suspicion that he would 
S'^-ize upon the government himself, and therefore he resolved 
by this inhuman method to destroy him. 

In this deplorable state the unfortunate Thady continued 
for the space of a year, and suffered most exquisite tortures, 
and his life was in the utmost danger. The condition of this 
young prince was lamented by his whole army, but particularly 
by Lughaidh Laga, who, not suspecting the treachery of Cor- 
mac, went to Munster, and brought away with him an eminent 
surgeon, who had performed wonderful cures in that province, 
and through the whole kingdom. When he came to examine 
into the wounds of his patient, he ordered his three pupils, who 
attended him, to lance the skin, and with proper instruments to 
probe the wounds. Thady could not bear the pain occasioned 
by this operation, but gave a most pitiful sigh, and almost 
fainted under the hand of the operator. The surgeon asked the 
eldest of his pupils, who was the most expert in his profession, 
what was the reason the young prince sighed so lamentably, 
and in what state the wound was ? He answered, that he was 
not surprised to hear the patient cry out and lament, for there 
was an ear of barley inclosed within the wound. Thady was in 
the utmost pain when the second wound was searched ; and 
unable to conceal the torment he suffered, sighed again, which 
made the surgeon examine into the reason ; and the second 
pupil told him that he discovered a living black worm that 
gnawed upon the flesh and occasioned the most acute torture. 
The third wound was now to be examined ; and notwithstanding 
the compassionate care of the young operator, Thady could not 
forbear crying out when the probe was within the skin ; and 
upon inquiry into the reason, the third pupil told his master, 
that notwithstanding the surface of the skin was healed, yet the 
flesh was putrified and corrupted within, for the rusty point of 
an old spear lay concealed at the bottom. The surgeon, sur- 
prised at so uncommon a case, gave orders that a ploughshare 


should be heated in the fire till it was red hot ; which being 
brought to him he took it in his hand, and with a cruel stern 
countenance, he ran violently at his patient, as if he would have 
forced the iran through his body : Thady, surprised at this at- 
tempt, started out of his bed to avoid the push, and by the vio- 
lence of his motion occasioned by his fear, his wounds were 
forced open, and he fortunately discharged the car of barley, the 
black worm and the rusty iron ; which had that happy effpct 
that the surgeon, by applying proper medicines, soon accom- 
plished his cure, and he was perfectly recovered. Thady, after 
this act of treachery, employed his forces in making conquests 
in the country, and his arms were attended with that succt/Sa, 
that he subdued large territories in Leath Cuinn ; so called be- 
cause it was part of the dominions ol Conn, who lost hJ.f the 
island, and was forced to be content with the remaining part 
which was known by this name, Leath Cuinn. 

The victorious Thady was the son of Cein, con of OilioU 
Olum ; from Jomhchaidhe, the son of Conla, descended the 
noble families of the O'Carrolls ; from Fionachta, the son of 
Conla, the tribe of O'Meaghair was derived ; from Cormdc Gai- 
leangach proceeded the families of O'Hara, O'Gara, C^'Cahaiae, 
and O'Connor Cianachta. They extended their conquests over 
the country in this manner : Gaileanga was victorious e^xstward 
and westward, Cianachta southward and northward. The pos- 
terity of Heber Fionn got possession of other countries in Leath ' 
Cuinn, or the half of Ireland, under the sovereignty of Conn. 
This part of the island was conquered by the posterity of 
Conhlan, son of Lorcan, son of Dathin, son of T( achuire, con of 
Sidhe, son of Ambhile, son of Big, son of Aodh n, son of Deal- 
bhaoth, son of Cas, son of Conall Eochluath, son of Lai^-hdherali 
Mean, who made swords-land of all the countries from Limerick 
to the mountain of Eachtuighe, son of Aongus Tiruach, son of 
Firchairb, son of Modha Chorb, son of Cormac Cas, son of 
Oilioli Olum. The territories that fell into the hands of the 
conquerors were these ; the seven Dealbhnas, that is, Dealbhna 
more, Dealbhna beg, Dealbhna eathra, Dealbnna jathar, Midi e 
dealbhna sithe neanta, Dealbhha cuill fabhair, and Dealbhna 
lire da loch, in Conacht. This Feargu.?, fae Lish monarch we 
are treating of, was slain as' before mentioned by Lughaiih 
Laga, at the instigation of Cormac, the son of Art. 

Cormac Ulfada, after his victory, seizbd upon the go- 

/'^* vcrnment. He wa3 the son of Art, eon of Conn, the re- 

nowned hero of die iiunctred battles, and he Lllcd the 


throne forty years. The reason why he was distinguished by 
the name of Cormac Ulfada, was, upon the account of his beard 
and the hair of his "head, which was exceeding long ; or he might 
receive this title from the word Ulfada, or Ulafad, which signi- 
fies, in English, far or remote from Ulster ; for we have observed, 
that the inhabitants of Ulster expelled him out of that pro- 
vince, and he continued in banishment sixteen years, or, accord 
ing to other computations, he was in exile ten years, before he 
returned and became the monarch of the island. The mother 
of this prince was Eachtach, the daughter of Ulcheataigh, who 
was by his profession a blacksmith. His father, who was Art, 
the Melancholy, the son of Conn, was charmed with the beauty 
of this fair plebeian, who bore him this king Cormac, not long 
before the battle of Magh Muchruime. This young woman he 
used as a concubine ; for it was a custom in those times, that a 
king's son might lay his commands upon any poor mechanic to 
deliver up his daughter, and it was thought honourable to the 
family to have a child admitted within the embraces of a prince ; 
but the father might refuse to give up his daughter, unless the 
prince engaged to endow her with a handsome portion. By this 
means the mother of Cormac became the concubine of Art ; for 
she was not his lawful queen, his wife being Meidhbh Leath- 
dearg, the daughter of Conan Cuaian, from whom Rath Meidhbh, 
adjoining to the palace of Tara, received its name. This concu- 
bine, Eachtach, the mother of Cormac, had a dream one night 
as she was in bed with Art, the young prince, that her head was 
chopped off, and that a tree grew out ot her neck, whose branches 
overspread the whole kingdom of Ireland ; but the sea rose to 
a prodigious height, and destroyed that tree, and then retired ; 
Irom the root of this tree sprang out another, but this was blasted 
by a westerly wind, ani so it died. When she awaked in the 
morning, she was surprised at the strange circumstances of her 
dream, and with great concern related the particulars of it to 
Art. The prince being well accomplished in soothsaying and 
divination, interpreted the dream in this manner : You are to 
observe, says he, that the head of every woman, by the law of 
nature, is the husband, and me you will certainly lose in the 
battle of Magh Muchruime, where I shaU be slain. The tre6 
that you supposed grew out of your neck, is a son you will bear 
to me, who, I foretel, shaU one day sit upon the throne of Ire- 
land. The overflowing of the sea, by which he was destroyed, 
implies that this prince shall die by the sticking of a bone of a 
sea-lish in his throat ; the tree you perceived to spring out of 


the root of t\^e former, will be the son of that king, who like- 
wise shall obtain the sovereignty of the kingdom ; and the blast 
of the west wind, by which it vvithered and decayed, signifies, 
that a desperate battle will be fought between himself and the 
Irish militia, who will rise in arms against him, "when he shall 
be slain. But the Fiana Eirionl, or the militia of Ireland, shall 
have no occasion to boast of their victory obtained by treason 
and rebellion, for they shall never flourish or prosper after that 
action, but their courage shall fail them, and they shall become 
a prey to their enemies. And in process of time the interpreta- 
tion of this dream was exactly accomplished in the persons of 
Art, his son Cormac, and Cairbre his grandson. Art was slain 
in the battle of Magh Muchruime, Cormac was choked by the 
bone of a sea- fish, and Cairbre Liffeachair lost his life in the 
battle of Gabhra, by the Fiana Eirionn, or the standing militia 
of the kingdom. 

The wife of Cormac, king of Ireland, was, if we give credit to 
some chronicles, Eithne Taobhfada, the daughter of Cathaoir 
More ', but that must be a mistake, and to assert that Eithno 
Cathach was the mother of Cairbre Liffeachair is equally false, 
and impossible to be proved ; for there was the distance of four- 
score and eight years between the death of Cathaoir More, and 
the time that Cormac took upon him the command of Ireland, 
which may be computed in this manner. Conn reigned twenty 
years ; Conaire More held the government seven years ; Art was 
monarch of the kingdom thirty years ; Mac Con reigned as 
many, and Feargus Dubhdheadach wore the crown one year 
before he was dethroned by Cormac, who fixed himself in the 
succession. And we have undoubted authority to believe that 
Eithne Ollamhdha, daughter of Dunluing, son of Eana Niadh, 
was the mother of Cairbre Liffeachair ; and the same testimony 
informs us, that this lady was fostered and educated by Bui- 
ciodh Brughach, an eminent and wealthy herdsman, who lived 
in the province of Leinster. 

This Baiciodh Brughach was a very hospitable person, and 
made it his practice to have a large cauldron always boiling upon 
the fire, full of flesh and provision for the entertainment of all 
passengers who came that way, who he relieved generously upon 
free cost, without asking any questions, or demanding of his 
guests who they were, or to what part of the island they be- 
longed. This herdsman abounded in cattle of all kinds : he had 
in his possesion at one time seven herds of cows, each herd con- 
sisted of seven score ; be was furnished with a noble stud of 


fine horses, and had flocks of sheep not to be numbered. The 
gentry of Leinster, with their whole families and retinue, would 
often visit the house of this herdsman, and quarter themselves 
upon him for a long time ; and when they left him, they would 
bring away with them a drove of his , cows, or take his horses 
and mares, or whatever else they pleased, without asking his con- 
sent, and never make him any return. This ungrateful prac- 
tice of the guests soon impoverished their benefactor, who wab' 
at last by this method stript of all his cattle except seven cows 
and a bull. With this small remaining part of his fortune he 
removed privately in the night from Dun Buiciodh, taking 
along with him his wife and his foster-child Eithne. He tra- 
velled with his little family till he came to a great wood, ad- 
joining to Ceanannanus, in the country of Meath, which Cormac 
generally made his place of residence. In this solitude Buiciodh 
resolved to spend the rest of his days ; and, as a defence against 
the weather, he built a small tent, with turf and boughs, where 
he lodged his wife and his fair charge Eithne, who, in her rus- 
tic dress, discovered a singular beauty, and attended upon her 
foster-parents in the quality of a servant. 

It happened that Cormac rode out and diverted himself in 
this wood j and his fortune directing him towards this little 
hermitage, he spied the beautiful Eithne very cheerfully milk- 
ing the cows ; she had two vessels, which she made use of, to 
separate the thin milk from the richer and more substantial, for 
when she began to milk a cow she disposed of the first part of 
the milk into one vessel, and the latter part of the strippings 
she poured into the other, which method she observed till she 
had gone over the whole number ; when she had finished, she 
took up the vessels and carried them home. Cormac followed 
her at a distance, admiring her sagacity and the niceness of 
her care, perfectly charmed with the modesty of her looks 
and the fine shape and beauty of her person. The young 
milkmaid did not stay long in the cottage, but cime out again, 
with two other vessels and a bowl in her hand, and went to 
a spring of water not far from the hut ; she stooped to the 
brink of the spring, and laded with the bowl, with the water 
that was near the surface she filled one vessel, and into the other 
she poured the water that was laded from the middle of the 
spring, which was cooler and clearer than the rest. When her 
vessels were full she returned home ; Cormac still having his 
eye upon her, and surprised at her innocent behaviour and exact 
judgment : she soon came out again, for she was obliged to do 


all the menial offices of the family, with a reaping-hook in her 
hand, and she had not gone far before she found a place that 
abounded with rushes ; there she began to work, and when she 
had cut a handful of rushes, she separated those that were long 
and green from such as were short and withered, and laid them 
in different heaps ; which distinction she used till she had as 
many as she designed to carry. The amorous Cormac observed 
her at a distance, and, unable to stifle his passion, rode up to 
her. She was somewhat surprised, at first, to see so genteel a 
person in so solitary a place ; but the, young prince, by the 
courtesy of his address, soon removed her fears, and assured her 
that she was in no danger, notwithstanding she was alone ; for 
it would be the greatest barbarity to offer violence to a maid of 
Bo innocent a carriage, and whose beauty deserved to be removed 
from woods and wildernesses into the courts of princes. After 
some of these polite compliments had passed, and the fair 
Eithne was recovered from her sorprige, Cormac asked her the 
reason of the distinction she had used in separating the milk, 
the water, and the rushes, and desired to know who was that 
happy person whom she was so careful to oblige, as to preserve 
the best of every thing by itself, and to distinguish by particular 
marks of her favour and esteem. The maid, with a blush rising 
in her face, answered, that the peiGon upon whom I bestow the 
choicest of what I can provide, is one, to whom I owe all the 
services of my life, and to please whom is my duty and the 
utmost of all my care. The pvince inquired who this fortunate 
person was, she told him it was the unhappy Buiciodh Brugh- 
ach ; what, says Cormac, the generous herdsman, so remarkable 
for his hospitality in the province of Leinster ! The very same, 
sir, replies the maid _; why then, says he, your name must be 
Eithne, and you rig the daughter of Dunluing, and foster-child 
to this herdsman, who has taken care of you from your infancy, 
and bred you up. Yes, sir, she answered, 1 perceive you know 
my family and the circumstances of my fortune : I do, fair 
maid, says he, and I am so charmed with your modesty, and 
the beauty of your person, that I scorn to make any unbecom- 
ing attempts upon your honour, but resolve by the ties of mar- 
riage to make you a partner in my bed. Sir, she replied, though 
a poor maid may justly be ambitious to be thus advanced upon 
any terms, yet I retain that duty to my foster-father, that I 
would not presume to dispose of myself, without his consent, to 
the greatest monarch of the universe. Cormac applauded her 
resolution, and desired to be con.ducted to the cottage where 



Buiciodh was ; and when he came, he informed him of his de- 
sign, and the sincerity of his passion j and engaged, upon the 
honour of a prince, to remove him out of that solitary retire- 
ment, and bestow wealth and lands upon him, suitable to the 
generosity of his soul, if he would consent that the beautiful 
Eithne should be his wife. Buiciodh rejoiced at this good for- 
tune, especially because his fair charge, whom he affectionately 
loved, was to be the wife of a prince, and soon complied with 
his request. Cormac fulfilled his promise to Buiciodh, and gave 
him the tract 'of land called Tuath Odhrain, that is situated 
near the palace of Tara, and furnished him with a great stock 
of cattle and other necessaries, by which means he was made 
happy during his life : and then the marriage was consummated 
with the beautiful Eithne, by whom he had a son, who made a 
great figure in the Irish history, called Cairbre LifFeachair. 

This Cormac, the monarch of Ireland, it must be observed, 
was a prince of the most consummate wisdom, who perfectly 
understood the maxims of government, and the most accom- 
plished statesman of the age ; and, as a testimony of his learn- 
ing and political knowledge, he wrote a tract, for the use of his 
son, Cairbre Liffeachair, intituled, Advice to Kings, which is 
worthy to be inscribed in golden characters, for the informa- 
tion of princes, and as a most complete standard of policy to 
all ages. He was very solicitous in revising and purging the 
ancient laws of the people, and established new acts and ordi- 
nances for the regulation of his subjects, exactly calculated* to 
the genius and temper of his people. He was likewise a prince 
of great munificence and hospitality, and supported the royal 
dignity of a king in the utmost state and grandeur. We may 
form a judgment of the splendid and magnificent court of this 
monarch, by the description of the palace where he kept his re- 
sidence, called in the Irish language, the royal seat of Miod- 
chuarta. The account of this noble fabric we received from 
the relation of Amergin, the son of Amalgadlia, son of Maolru- 
adhna, an eminent poet, retained in the family of Diarmod 
Mac Carrol, and to be found in the book that treats of the De- 
scription of Places and Buildings, written by this learned 
author. This palace of Miodcbuarta was built, it must be con- 
fessed, a long time before Cormac came to the crown ; for in this 
house it was, that Slanoll, one of the monarchs of Ireland, died, 
many years before Cormac was born : but it was repaired and 
enlarged by this prince, and made a banqueting- house, for the re- 
ception and entertainment of his own nobilitjj and tae ambassa- 


dors of foreign princes. The length of this structure was 300 
cubits j it was 30 cubits in height, and 50 cubits in breadth ; a 
lanthorn of curious workmanship and of a large size, hung up la 
the middle of the state room ; fourteen doors belonged to the 
house, and the lodging apartments were furnished with 150 beds, 
beside the royal bed of state, where the king himself usually lay. 
iNever was there a monarch in the throne of Ireland, that was 
attended with a more noble retinue ; for he had in constant pay 
150 of the most distinguished champions of the kingdom, as 
the yeomen of his guard, to wait upon his person, especially to 
serve him at his table when he dined in public ; at which time 
he was served in an hundred and fifty cups of massy gold and 
silver. The household guards, that were in constant attendance, 
consisted of a thousand and fifty of the bravest men in his whole 
army ; and other ensigns and distinctions of royalty he had 
about him, which would have been no reproach to the dignity 
of the greatest princes. A poet of great antiquity has trans- 
mitted to us the character of this munificent king, the lines are 
these ; 

The melancholy Art, who fiU'd the throne 
Of Ireland, had but one son, the brave Cormac ; 
A prmce most generous, liberal, and free, 
Who raised the grandeur of the Irish nation, . 
And made it fLimed throughout the world 

Cormac had a numerous issue j his children were three sons 
and ten daughters, as an eminent poet has given us to under- 
stand in this manner ; 

Ten princesses of most accomplished beauty 
Were daughters of Cormac, the Irish king ; 
Three sons he had of a superior courage, 
Their names wei'e Daire, Cakbre and Ceatlach. 

The first-named of the three young princes was slain at Dubh- 
rois, near the banks of the river Boyne, at Breag ; Ceallach, 
another of the brothers, fell by the hand of Aongus Gaothbhu- 
ailteach j as the following verses, composed by a poet of great 
veracity, inform us : 

» The valiant Aongus Gaothbhuailteach , 

Slew Ceallach, a prince, the son of Cormac ; 
His brother Daire unfortunately fell 
With the renowned Thady, son of Cein, 
, At Dubhruis, neaj: the river Boyne. 


Tt may not be improper, in this place, the better to illustrate 
this part of the history, to mention particularly the genealogies 
of some of the principal persons concerned in the government, 
and in the public administration of the Irish affairs. It must 
be observed, therefore, for this purpose, that Feidhlimhidh 
Eeachtmhar had three sons, whose names were, Conn Cead- 
chathach, who was kuown by the title of The hero of the hun- 
dred battles, Eochaidh Fionn, and Fiachadh Suidh, as before 
mentioned. The posterity of Conn were kings, and governed 
in Tara : the second brother, whose name was Eochaidh Fionn, 
went into Leinster, at the time that Cuchorb, the son of Modh- 
achorb, was king of that province. Laoighseach Cean More, 
the son of Connall Cearnach, had his. education with the prince 
Eochaidh Fionn, and at this time the inhabitants of Munster 
made incursions into Leinster, and conquered a large proportion 
of that province ; and by the success of their arms were in pos- 
session of Ossery and Laoigheis, as far as the top of Maisteau 
Cuchorb then reigned in Leinster, and, perceiving that the 
forces of Munster had got footing in his province, and were not 
easily to be expelled by his own strength, he entreated the as- 
sistance of Eochaidh Fionn to drive them back into their own 
territories ; Eochaidh complied with his request, and sent com- 
missions to his friends and allies, to attend upon him with a 
complete number of troops, to engage in this expedition. His 
orders were faithfully obeyed, and he advanced his companion, 
Laoighseach Cean More, who was bred up with him, to be the 
general of his forces ; Cuchorb put himself at the head of what 
men he could engage to follow him, and joined his ally, who 
thought it proper that his friend Laoighseach should be com- 
mander in chief of the whole army. 

Thus united, they marched towards the Momonians, or the 
men of Munster, who, apprehending that they should be" at- 
tacked, were prepared to receive them. The two armies soon 
engaged, and a bloody^ action followed, in which both sides 
fought with great valour and bravery, and it was difficult for 
some time to judge which way the victory would incline, but 
fortune, after a sharp dispute, declared in favour of the confe- 
derate army, who broke the ranks of the enemy, with terrible 
slaughter, and routed them from the top of Maistean to the 
river Bearbha. The battle was fought at Athtrodain, now known 
by the name of Athy, situated upon the river Bearbha, now 
called Barrow. And the Momonians, in this engagement, were 
defeated, and the flower of their troops lay dead upon the spot. 


The Lagonians, or the men of Leinster, animated with this 
success, continued the pursuit ; and, perceiving that a strong 
body of the enemy had rallied, and were drawn up in order at 
Cainthine, on Magh Riada, now called Laoighis, that is, Laise 
or Leise Riada, the victors fell upon them with desperate fury 
and put them to flight : they then pursued them to Slighe Dhala, 
now called Bealach More Ossery, where the forces of Leinster 
made so dreadful a slaughter of the Momonians, that they were 
forced to desist for want of enemies to kill ; which victory re- 
settled the state of that province, and so discouraged the men 
of Munster, that they never attempted to enlarge their bounds, 
bat were glad to confine themselves within their own territo- 

Cuhorb, being reinstated in his dominions by the assistance 
of Eochaidh Fionn, out of gratitude thought himself obliged to 
recompense his services, and therefore generously bestowed upon 
him the seven Fothortuaths ; and confirmed this donation, by 
perpetuating the right to his posterity for ever. Laoighseach, 
the general of the confederate army, who had his education 
with Eochaidh Fionn, he rewarded with the seven Laoighises, 
to be enjoyed by him and his heirs ; for he confessed, that th(T 
success of the expedition was owing to the valour and conduct 
of the general, whose military experience gave him advantages 
over the incapacity of the commanding officer in the enemy's 
army, which he made such use of as to obtain a complete vic- 

From this instance of gratitude to Laoighseach, the posterity 
of this general took upon themselves the title of kings of Leix 
or Leise ; and the king of Leinster, being sensible that he owed 
his crown to the bravery of this commander, obliged himself, 
and his successors in that province, to make a perpetual acknow- 
ledgment to the kings of Leix, in memory of the service he 
received from Laoighseach, who restored him to his throne. 
He established it by law, that the kings of Leix should have 
a just claim for ever, to a sirloin of every beeve that was killed 
in the royal slaughter-house, for the use of the kings of Lein- 
ster ; and that one of the king of Leinster's galloglachs, or re* 
ceivers, should attend constantly in the king of Leinster's court, 
and should have a salary allowed him for that purpose, whose 
sole business it should be to supervise and collect this tribute 
for the use of the king of Leix. 

It was ordained, likewise, that the king of Leix for the time 
being, should be allowed a place at the council-board of the kio^ 

or IRl-LAXD. 271 

of Leinster, and was to take his place in the fourth degree at 
all public assemblies and entertainments, and but three were 
admitted to sit above him nearer the king. He was to enjoy 
the principal office in the treasury, and to distribute the king's 
bounty and munificence to the gentry, the antiquaries, the 
poets, the musicians, and the learned in all arts and professions, 
whose abilities entitled them to a reward ; and whatever pre- 
sents or acknowledgments were sent to the king, were trans- 
mitted to him, and passed through his hands. It was enjoined 
further, that seven of the royal family of Laoighis, or Leix, should 
constantly attend the person of the king of Leinster, as a fixed 
guard, for which service they were to be honourably maintained, 
at the charge of the crown of Leinster. But the king of Leix, 
in return for these privileges, was obliged to maintain, at his 
own expense, one hundred and fifty stout soldiers, to serve in 
the ainny of the king of Leinster, who were bound to execute 
the most difficult and dangerous commands ; to force the lines 
of the enemy, though with the utmost hazard ; to beat them 
out of their quarters, and to distinguish themselves in the hot- 
test part of the battle. 

It was observed before, that Laoighseach Ceanmor, the fir?f5 
king Of I,aoighis or Leix, was brought up, and had his educa*. 
tion with Eochaidh Fionn, son of Feidhlimhidh Reachtmhar^ 
the first king of Fothortuath ; for which reason it was, that th? 
kings of Leix w^ere obliged to be ready upon all occasions, with 
a competent number of troops, to assist the king of Fothortnatk 
npon the first sumpions; and this custom was faithfully observed 
by the kings of Leix to the time of Henry II. king of England. 
■ The third brother of Conn, the hero of the hundred battles, 
was called Fiachadh Suidhe. This prince was very powerful, 
and in possession of a large tract of land near the palace of 
Tara, that was known by the name of Deisie Teamhrach, but ha 
was never fixed in the sovereignty of the kingdom. He had 
three sons, whose names were Rosa, Aongus, who was distin- 
guished by the title of Gaothbhuailteach, and Eogan ; the 
second brother, Aongus, was the most accomplished soldier of 
the three, for he had signalized himself in several engagements, 
was very expert in military discipline, and victory scarce ever 
failed him. 

At this time it happened, that there was a person of principal 
note in the kingdom, who, by his misbehaviour, had fallen under 
the displeasure of Cormac, who could not be induced, by the 
licatiou of his greatest favourites, to receive him into his 


ersteeiLj till Aongus undertook to be his advocate, and humbly 
interceded for his pardon. The king was at first inflexible, but 
when Aongus offered himself to be bound for his fidelity and 
good conduct for the time to come, Cormao was prevailed upon 
to forbear his resentments, and admit the discarded favourite 
into his court. This reconciliation, procured by the intercession 
of Aongus, was so disagreeable to the young prince, Ceallach, 
the son of Cormac, that he seized violently, and without com- 
irjission, upon the forgiven offender, and when he had him in 
custody he never asked the consent of his father, but in revenge 
put out both his eyes. Aongus, being informed of this barba- 
rity, resented it in an outrageous manner, and, being incensed 
at the treachery of the action, raised a numerous army, and, 
appearing himself at the head of them, marched towards Tara, 
to chastise the insolence of the young prince, and to do justice 
to his injured friend. Cormac, alarmed at this formidable re- 
bellion, prepared to defend himself and his son ; but Aongus 
made a vigorous attack, and slew Ceallach with his lance, as he 
stood by his father's side, and likewise at another throw he 
struck out one of the king's eyes with his spear. 

But Cormac, nothing discouraged at these misfortunes, resolved 
to crush the rebellion ; and, having a gallant army about him, 
he offered battle to the haughty traitor, and, with a terrible 
slaughter of his best troops, drove him out of the field. After 
this defeat Aongus and his brother retired for protection to the 
province of Leinster, where they continued for one year ; from 
thence they removed to Ossery, but this place was no safe refuge 
for them, which obliged them to fly to the court of Oilioll Ollum, 
who they supposed would be inclined to succour them, because 
he had married the princess Sadhbh, the daughter of Conn, to 
whom they had a near relation. 

'Oilioll Ollum was moved with compassion at the miserable 
distress of the three brothers, and bestowed upon them, for their 
present support, the territories of Deasie, in the province of 
Munster ; and the reason he conferred this tract of land upon 
them was, because they were in possession of the Deasie, near 
the palace of Tara, before this misfortune happened, and by their 
deieat were obliged to seek for new settlements, or fall a sacri- 
fice to the arms of the conqueror. 

The brothers gratefully accepted of the lands assigned them, 
and, without quarrel or dispute, they divided the country be- 
tween them, in three equal parts. Some of the old records as- 
sert, that these young princes were the liueal descendants of 


Oilioll Aram, and were called Earnaighe ; but this appears to 
be a mistake, for they were improperly distinguished by that 
name, because the Earnaighe were the posterity of Conaire, the 
son of Mogha Lamha, justly speaking, who are particularly men- 
tioned in the preceding part of this history. The reason, why 
these brothers, the sons of Fiachadh Suidhe, applied to the court 
of Munster for protection was, the persuasion of Core Duibhue. 
the son of Cairbre Muisc ; and the posterity of these princes 
were known by the name of Deasies. This tribe was conducted 
into this province by Eochaidh Fionn, the son of E.eachtmar, 
and the three brothers, Rosa, Eogan, and Aongus Gaothbhuail- 

At the time when these young princes arrived in Muaster, 
Cairbre Muisc had a considerable interest in that province j 
but his wickedness was a scourge to the whole country, for duis 
iug his residence there the fruits of the earth were all destroyed, 
and the corn was blasted, which occasioned a very dreadful fa-, 
mine. The particular act of impiety, that was supposed to pro- 
voke the vengeance of heaven was, his committing incest with 
his own sister, whose name was Duibhin, who proved with child. 
When the time of her delivery came, she had two sons, whom she 
named Cormac and Core. The father and mother of this inces- 
tuous issue were the children of Modha Lamha, and of Sarah his 
wife, who was the daughter of the renowned Conn, the hero of 
the hundred battles. 

The inhabitants of Munster, particularly the principal gentry 
of the country, were so alarmed at the miserable scarcity of 
provision, that they applied to Cairbre, and inquired if he could 
inform them of the occasion of the dreadful famine that raged 
through all the province. Cairbre, being conscious that his guilt 
deserved so severe a judgment, told them he was of opinion 
that his own impiety was the cause of that visitation, par- 
ticularly an act of incest he committed with his own sister, who 
bore him two sons, whom he called Core and Cormac. The 
gentry were moved with horror and indignation at so base a 
crime, and demanded, by way oi atonement, that the children 
should be delivered into their hands, whom they proposed to 
put to death, to burn their bodies to ashes, and to cast the dust 
into a stream that was near the place. 

When this transaction happened, there was a druid in the 
company, whose name was Dionach ; this soothsayer had re- 
course to his art, and found it expedient that one of the bro- 
tUers, Called Cormac, should be given up to the people ; h'lt 


Core, the younger son, lie desired to be delivered into his hands, 
and he promised to convey him out of Ireland. This motion was 
agreed to by the whole assemby, and accordingly the prophet 
took up the child assigned to him, and travelled to the sea shore, 
where he procured a vessel, and weighed anchor, and landed 
with the infant at a small island called Inis Baoi. It had this 
name from an old woman styled Baoi/ who lived there ; and to 
her the druid delivered the child, who took care of him for the 
space of a year, and then the druid, who never left him, re- 
warded the nurse for her trouble, and returned with him back 
into Ireland. When he arrived, he brought him to his grand- 
mother by his father and mother, whose name was Sarah, de- 
livering withal a strict charge, that she should give him hand- 
some education with all imaginable privacy, and secure him 
from the knowledge and resentment of the people of Munster. 
The Deasies, affected with these (calamities of the province, 
consulted the most eminent druids, whether the country should 
be destroyed, or enjoy a state of happmess for the time to come? 
For if they learned there would be any wars or commotion^ 
among the inhabitants; they were resolved not to abide the 
issue, but to remove and seek for new settlements. The sooth- 
sayers gave them to understand^ that it was proper they should 
continue in the country ; and informed them withal, that the 
wife of Eana Cinnsealach, whose name was Cuingion, was far 
gone with child, and would be delivered of a daughter ; and 
that, as soon as she was born, they were to apply to the father, 
to desire the nursing and the education of her ; if he refused 
their request, they were to make a suitable present to the father, 
and that would prevail with him to resign her to their disposal : 
the reason of these instructions was, because it was foreseen 
that this child should consult the interest, and bestow great ad- 
vantages upon that family. The Deasies gave belief to the pre- 
diction, and, following the advice of their druids, obtained the 
child of the father. But the prophecy being not to be accom- 
plished till the child was marriageable, they were impatisnt till 
she was of a suitable age ; and to forward her growth they slew 
many young children, and fed her with their flesh. This method 
of dieting her promoted her inclinations, and she was capable 
)f marriage some years sooner than the usual age. The name 
of this lady was Eithne Vathach, whose husband, it was pre- 
dicted, should be a fast friend to the tribe of the Deasies ; and 
therefore they made inquiry for a husband for her, and when 
the articles of marriage were settled, they bestowed her upon 


Aongus/ tlie son of Nadhfraioch, king of Muuster. But this 
prince could not obtain her without a gratuity to the family 
that brought her up ; and therefore Aongus delivered as a 
dowry, into the possession of the Deasies, the lands of Magh 
Feimhin, consisting of the third part of Ciuain Mell, and the 
middle third ; but he was first obliged to drive the people of 
Ossery out of those estates, who at that time were the pos- 
sessors of them. A considerable time after this, Aongus and 
his lady Eithne were slain by the people of Leinster, in the 
battle of Ceallosnadh, four miles eastward of Laithglin. 

The posterity of Fiachadh Suidhe, who were distinguished by 
the name of Deasies, had not, when they first came into Mun- 
ster, any lands in that province, except that part of the country 
called Deasie Deisgceart, or the South Deasie, which extends 
itself from the river Suir to the south sea, and from Liosmoro 
to Ceann Criadain, till* the marriage of this lady Eithne with 
the prince Aongus, son of Nadhfraioch, king of Munster ; for 
then it was, in accomplishment of the prediction, that he con- 
ferred upon the tribe of Deasie the country called Tuaagirt, or 
North Deasie, which contains the tract of lands from the river 
^uir aforesaid, to Corea Athrach, known now by the name of 
Macha;re Chaisil, or the plains of Gashel. 

There was a prince called O'Faolan, who descended lineally 
from the family that was king of JSTorth Deasie, and he erected 
a stately palace, and kept hi3 court, westward of Dunleamh- 
nachta, which structure continues the name of Don Faolan to 
this day. He had a relation of the same family, who fixed him- 
self in the possession of Deasie Deisgceirt, or the South Deasie, 
and from him O'Bric received its name. His royal seat was 
situat:d near the coast of the south sea, called Oilean O'Bric, 
or the island of Brie ; and between these two families was the 
government of the two divisions of the Deasie contin?ied, till 
the death of O'Bric, who left no issue behind him, and then the 
government of both parts fell into the hands of Faolan, whoso *" 
descendants possessed the sovereignty for many years and suc- 
cessions, til they were driven out of the North Deasie by the 
prevailing power of the posterity of Heber Fionu, the son of 
Milef-ius, who conquered that part of the country, and left no 
more to that tribe than the South Deasie : and in this posture 
were both Deasies found by the English, who were brought iulo 
Ireland by Diarmuid Mac Morough, king of Leinster. 

It must be observed in this place, that Aongus Ossery, and 
^.is folio Wdi'KA, had ths command of Ma^,'!! Feimhin, called tha 


North Deasie, and that Aongus was forced to abandon his pos- 
sessions of Magh Feimhiu, and was expelled the country by tho 
posterity of Fiacaadh Suidhe, with all his relations and de- 
pendants ; so that from this general defeat of Aongus Ossery it 
is, that Bailie Urlifidhe, and Mulloch Aindeonach, are known 
by the same name to this day ; for the word Urlnidh, in the 
Irish language, signifies the blows or irresistible strokes of vy 
liant men, and Aindeonach is as much as to say a violent ex* 

Cormac, the son of Art, king of Ireland, had at that time a 
numerous family to maintain, and his revenue was so small, that 
he was not able to find provisions, especially a sufficient quan- 
tity of flesh to support them suitable to his quality. He there- 
fore advised with his treasurer, who had the principal manage- 
ment of his affairs, and knew the exigency of his fortune, on 
what method he should take to keep up the dignity of his table, 
and to subsist his attendants, till his subsidies and tributes 
would become due, and enable him to defray the expense. His 
treasurer, being sensible of the wants of his master, gave his' 
opinion, that there was no other redress left, but to raise a 
number of resolute and well-disciplined troops, and enter the 
province of Munster in a hostile manner., and demand of the 
king of Munster the revenue that lay in arrear ; for, sir, saya 
he, there are two provinces in Munster, and you receive con- 
tributions but from one of them ; your business, therefore, is to 
insist upon your right, to demand what you have been de- 
frauded of, and, if he should deny your claim, to plunder the 
conutry, and to force a just acknowledgment from the inhabi- 

This advice was well received by Cor mac, who immediatel/ 
put it in execution. He therefore dispatched a proper messen- 
ger to Fiachadh Muilleathan, the king of Munster, and made a 
demand of the revenue arising from one of the provinces, which 
had been unjustly detained from him. The message was re- 
ceived with contempt, and Fiachadh returned this answer, that 
the demand was unprecedented, none of his predecessors, the 
kings of Ireland, ever received an additional tribute from the 
province, neither would he distress his subjects by raising new 
cciitributions, which they had no right to pay. Cormac, upon 
the return of the messenger, was incensed with this denial, and 
raised an army with all expedition, and directed his march to- 
wards Munster. He entered the province as an enemy, and 
came as far as Druim Da Maire, (Nvhich place la now called Cnoo 


Luinge,) where he halted aud encamped with his forces. Fiach- 
adh Muilleathaii, the king of Munster, perceiving he shoujd be 
attacked, was ready to receive him; and encamping with his army 
in the very face of Cormac, resolved to try the issue of the 

But Cormac, not confiding wholly in the courage of his forces, 
had recourse to policy, and, having a great number of Scottish 
druids and enchanters in his army, desired the assistance of their 
skill to annoy and dispirit the enemy. These necromancers 
made use of their art, and, by charms and incantations, occa- 
sioned the greatest trouble and inconveniences to the army of 
Munster ; particularly their magical skill had that success, as 
to dry up the water that was in the enemy's camp, so that the 
soldiers and tht cattle were in the utmost distress, and were 
ready to expire for thu'st. 

The king of Munster lamented this sad calamity among his 
forces, and, hearing of an eminent druid that lived in Ciarruidho 
Luachra, whose name was Modharuith, he sent to him, and re* 
quested him to deliver his armies out uf these difficulties ; but 
the crafty druid, taking advantage of the misfortune of the 
khig, denied his assistance, unless he had confirmed to him, as 
a reward, the two territories, now called Koche's country and 
the country of Condon, and settled upon his posterity for ever ; 
upon that condition he engaged to deliver the army of Munster 
from the power of the Scottish enchanters, and to procure plenty 
of water in the camp. 

The ne€essity of the king's affairs obliged him to comply with 
this unconscionable demand, and the druid had immediate re- 
course to his art. The counter-charm, which he used upon this 
occasion, was an enchanted dart he had in his hand, which he 
flung into the air with all his force, declaring, that from the 
spot of ground upon which the arrow fell, there should spring a 
fountain of the purest water sufficient to supply the wants of 
the whole army ; and so it came to pass. By this means the 
soldiers were relieved and inspired with fresh courage ; and, en- 
raged with the miseries they had endured, they desired the king 
to lead them against the enemy, and promised him full revenge, 
and assured him of victory. He accordingly drew out his forces, 
and offered baittle to the king of Ireland, who, distrusting the 
courage of his soldiers, flecj for his security without striking a 
blow, and was pursued so closely by the king of Munster, that 
he was overtaken at Ossery, and obliged to capitulate. The 
ccnditions insisted on were, that he wiu to deliver up ho^ta^^es, 


which were to be the principal of his nobility, and send them 
from Tara to Raith Naoi, now called Cnoc Rathfann, as a solemn 
assurance that he would repair all the losses the people of Mnn- 
ster had sustained by the plundering and depredations of his 
army, from the time that he first entered the province. These 
terms were accepted, for they were offered sword in hand : and 
the testimony of an old poet, who wrote of these affairs, con- 
firms this account in these lines : 

Tlie valiant Fiachadh Muilleatlian, 
The Avarlike monarch of the soutliern coasts, 
Received the hostages, who came from Tara 
To Kathfuin and Rath ISTaoi. 

This prince, the victorious Fiachadh Muilieathan, had two 
sons, whose names were Oilioll Flan More and Oilioli Flan 
Beag. Oilioll Flan More, who was the eldest, died without 
issue ; and all the posterity, -descended from Fiachadh Muiliea- 
than, were the offspring of Oilioll Flan Beag, whose descendants 
were very numerous, and of great authority, in the province of 
Munster. This is taken notice of in the verses of an old poet, 
in this manner : 

Two worthy princes of the royal blood 

Of Fiachadh Muilieathan, 

Were Oilioll Flan Alore, and Oilioll Flan Beag. 

The eldest with a child was never blest : 

The youngest with a numerous progeny 

O'erspread the province. 

The prince, Oilioll Fian More, having no child of his own, by 
public authority adopted his brother, Oilioll Flan Beag, for his 
son, and demised to him all his fortune and estate, upon this 
condition, that his name should be inserted in the lineal gene- 
alogies, between the name of his father, Fiachadh Muilieathan, 
and that of his brother, in order to make posterity believe that 
he was the father of Oilioll Flan Beag ; and the pedigrees 
belonging to all the spreading branches of that line, have the 
name of Oilioll Flan More disposed according to the oontraci 
agreed to by the two brothers, and are delivered down in trie 
same form through many ages. The Psalter of Cashel, likewise, 
and others of the most ancient and anthentic chronicles of Ire- 
land, take notice of these genealogies, with the name of this 
prince placed next to' his father's ; though the writers of those 
times were sensible, that Oilioll Flan More was not the fatiier 

/ OF IT?r.T.AXD. ^ 279 

of Oilioll Flan Beag : notwithstanding, the pubh'o records of 
the kingdom always mention the name of Oilioll Flan More in 
the genealogy of Fiachadh Mnilleathan, but with no design to 
impose upon posterity, only in observance of the agreement be- 
tween the two brothers, upon the consideration before men- 

We are now come to the death ot this renowned prince Fia- 
chadh Mnilleathan, who was treacherously slain by Conla, tho 
B©n of Thady. son of Cian, son of Oiliolla Olum, at the ford 
called Aith Uisiol, upon the river Suir. This barbarous act was 
accomplished in this manner ; Conla, it must be observed, had 
Lis education with Cormac, monarch of Ireland, where he was 
instructed in military discipline, and the polite parts of learn- 
ing, and was bred up suitably to his descent and quality. When 
he was young, it happened that he had a sharp humour in. his 
blood, which occasioned a scabby and leprous scurf all over his 
body j the most eminent physicians were applied to, and they 
administered medicines, but without success : the young prince 
became a most frightful object, for his whole body was broken 
out, and covered as it were, with scales. This misfortune was 
lamented by the whole court, but by none more than by Cor- 
mac himself, who had conceived a sincere affection for him, as 
he was his companion from a child. In those times it was es- 
teemed the highest accomplishment to understand divination 
and soothsaying, and Cormac was become so great a proficient 
in those studies, that, for the service of his friend, he tried the 
utmost of his skill ; and upon consultation was able to foretel, 
that he should never be delivered from that distemper, but 
would without remedy continue afflicted with the leprosy, un- 
less he could find means to wash his body all over with the 
blood of a king. Soon after this prediction, Conla, despairing 
of a cure, took leave of Cormac and his court, and came into the 
province of Munster. over which Fiachadh Mnilleathan was 
then king, and kept his residence at Rath Rathfuinn, now called 
Cnoc Rathfuinn. In the court of this prince he was received 
with great favour and civility, and, notwithstanding the appear- 
ance of his distemper, he was admitted near the person of the 
king. ■ Some time after it happened that Fiachadh, attended by 
his nobles and his retinue of state, had resolved to divert him- 
self by swimming in the river Suir, and Conla, who was his 
near relation, was so well esteemed as to have the honour of 
carrying his lance. When they arrived upon the bank of the 
river, his servants undressed, him, and he plunged into Aith 


X.iiaiojj to bathe and refresh himself. He had not been long in 
the water, till Coula observed him swimming towards him, and 
niaking his way towards the shore. The prediction of Cormao 
instantly came into his mind, and, thinking this a proper op- 
portunity to accomplish it, he basely violated the laws of gra- 
Jitude and hospitality, and ran the king through the body with 
^is own spear. The wound was mortal, and the attendants, ad- 
vancing to take full revenge upon the traitor, the expiring prince 
laid his dying commands upon them, to save his life, and par- 
don the murderer. His orders were faithfully obeyed ; Gonla 
had his life spared, and the king was carried on shore and in- 
stantly died. 

It was observed before, in a preceding part of this history, 
that Cormac, king of Ireland, had ten daughters ; yet the an- 
cient records being silent, and mentioning nothing memorable ot 
eight of these princesses, what they have related of the other 
two will be properly introduced in this place. The name of one 
of these ladies was Graine, who was man-ied to Fioun, the son 
of Cumhall : but being of an amorous disposition she left him, 
and stole away with her gallant Diarmuid O'Duibhne ; the 
other was called Ailbhe, who was married tc her sister's husband, 
Fionn, the son of Cumhall. 

From this Fionn the established militia of the kingdom were 
called Fiana Eirionn ; and if it should be asserted either through 
ignorance or prejudice, that there was no such standing body 
of troops in the island as these trained bands, tc evince the con- 
trary, let it be considered that this part of history is supported 
by evidence not tc be opposed. The constant tradition of the 
ancient Irish, concerning the militia, which has delivered down 
from father to son a continued account of many great and me- 
morable exploits, performed by the bravery of these troops for 
many ages, is a testimony of sufficient force, with an impartial 
judgment, to prove that the brave Fiana, or Trained B.mds, 
were fixed upon the Irish establishment, and were the standing 
army of the kingdom. As a further argument upon this occa- 
sion, let it be observed, that to deny the authority of this tra- 
dition is not only to suppose that the ancient Irish, for many 
centuries, conspired to abuse posterity with a fiction, but by 
this means the reputation of the most authentic record? is dis- 
puted, which particularly relate the actions of the Irish militia. 
Besides, there remain to this day several unquestionable monu- 
ments of these old soldiers, to deny which, is to disbelieve 
matter of fact, and to oppose the cooimon reason ">f mankind. 


Some of the remaining footsteps of these old warriors are known 
by their first names at this time ; as, for instance, Suidhe 
Fionn, or the palace of Fionn, situated at Sliabh na Mban, or 
the Woman's Mountain, which seat was so called from Fionn 
O'Baoisgue. Gleann Garruidh, in Vibh Fathach, received its 
name from Garruidh Mac Morna ; Leaba Dhirmuda, and 
Graine, which signifies Diarmuid and Graine's Bed, and stood 
at a place called Poll tighe Liabain, in Yibh Fiachrach, in 
O'Shaghnusie's country. Many instances to the same purpose 
might be produced, to prove that many places in the kjngdom 
retain, to this day, the names of some of the old Irish militia , 
but these are sufficient ; and to mention more would occasion 
too wide a breach in the progress of this history. 

If it should be objected, that it is not to be supposed some 
particular transactions, relating to O'Fionn, and his Fiana 
Eirionn, or the Irish militia, can obtain belief, because some of 
the circumstances are impossible in fact, and therefore must be 
absolutely false, I confess, indeed, that the history of Ireland, 
in some degree, la,bours under the same misfortune with most 
of the old chronicles that were written in the times of idolatry 
and paganism ; and there is scarce a country upon earth, I sup- 
pose, whose primitive records are not disguised with fable and 
some incredible relations ; and even since Christianity appeared 
in the world, and the clouds of superstition and ignorance were 
in some measure dispelled, many strange and romantic accounts 
have been delivered with an air of truth, and obtained credit 
among weak judgments, notwithstanding the monstrous incon- 
sistencies they abound with. But it is an unjustifiable conse- 
quence to conclude from thence, that the old records and chro- 
nicles of all nations are fables and rhapsodies ; as if antiquity 
was a sure and infallible mark of falsehood, and that the ancient 
writers were a gang of cheats and impostors, who conspired 
together to transmit lies and to impose upon posterity. 

It cannot be denied, however, that many poetical fictions, 
and suspected relations, are foisted into the chronicles that treat 
of Fionn and his Irish militia ; such as, the battle ot Fionn 
Tragha, Bruighean Chaorthuin, Achtra, and Ghiolla Dheacair, 
which are accounts, not so much designed to gain credit, as to 
relieve the reader, and to embellish and set off the history ; and 
therefore to weaken the authority of the whole, upon the ac- 
count of some poetical fables interspersed, is too severe and un- 
justifiable a piece of criticism, and contrary to the common 
candour allowed to such ancient writings. 


. In some of the records, which treat of the old militia of Ire- 
land, it is asserted that they were a body of men, so strong, 
and so tall of stature, as is really incredible j for it is certain, 
though there were a brave and undaunted number of troops, 
yet the size of the persons did not exceed the common pro- 
portion of those times. They were no more than a standing 
well-disciplined army, under the monarchs of Ireland, in whose 
hands the militia ever was, that were kept in regular and con- 
stant pay. Their business was to defend the country against 
foreign or domestic enemies, to support the right and succession 
of their kings, and to be ready at the shortest notice, upon any 
surprise or emergencies of the state. They were to guard the 
sea coasts, and to have a strict eye upon the creeks and havens 
of the island, lest any pirates should be lurking there, to plun- 
der the country, and infest the inhabitants ; and they were 
established for the same purpose as a standing body of forces 
are kept up in any nation, to defend it from invasions, to sup- 
port the rights and prerogatives of the crown, and to secure the 
liberty and property of the people. 

The way of subsisting these troops was by billeting them 
upon the country, from Allhallow-tide to the month of May, 
which was the winter season ; during the other part of the year 
they were obliged to fish and to hunt, and find provision for 
themselves. But they were confined to perform their military 
exercise, and to be under discipline. The officers were enjoined 
not to oppress, but to defend the inhabitants from the attempts 
of thieves and robbers, and to promote the peace and happiness 
of the people : it was their duty to quell all riots and insurrec- 
tions, to raise fines, and secure forfeited estates for the use of 
the king ; to inquire into, and suppress all seditious and traitor- 
ous practices in the beginning, and to appear in arms when any 
occa;_ion of the state required. 

For these services they were allowed a regular pay, as the 
princes of Europe at this day maintain their armies ; for 
though this militia had no pay from the kings of Ireland, but 
when they were in winter quarters, from Allhallow-tide to the 
month of May, yet, as was observed before, they had the pri- 
vilege, for the other part of the year, to fish and fowl for their 
support, which was equivalent to their settled pay, for the 
fiesh of what they killed they eat, and the skins they had liberty 
to sell, which afforded a good price. 

The method of dressing their meat was very particular ; for 
when they had success in hunting, it was their custom in the 



forenoon to send their huntsman, with what they had killed, to 
a proper place, where there was plenty of wood and water ; there 
they kindled great fires, into which their way was to throw s 
n amber of large stones, where they were to continue till they 
were red hot , then they applied themselves to dig two great 
pits in the earth, into one of which, upon the bottom, they used 
to lay some of those hot stones as a pavement, upon them they 
would place the raw flesh, bound up hard in green sedge or bull- 
rushes , over these bundles was fixed another layer of hot stones, 
then a quantity of flesh, and this method was observed till the 
pit was full. In this manner their flesh was sodden or stewed 
till it was fit to eat, and then they uncovered it , and, when the 
hole was»-emptied, they began their meal. This Irish militia, it 
must be observed, never eat but once in twenty-four hours, and 
their meal time was always in the evening. When they had a 
mind to alter their diet, instead of stewing their meat, as we 
have before mentioned, they would roast it before these fires 
and make it palatable and wholesome. 

And, as an undisputed evidence of these" fires, the marks of 
them continue deep in the earth, in many places of the island, 
to this day ; for they were very large, and burned exceeding 
fierce, and the impression they left is now to be met with many 
fyet deep in the ground. When any husbandman in Ireland 
turns up with his plough any black burnt earth, he immediately 
knows the occasion of it ; and the soil of that colour is known, 
with great propriety, by the name of Fulacht Fian to this time. 

When the Irish militia came to these fires to dress their meat 
before they went to eat they would strip themselves to their 
shirts, which they modestly tied about theit middles, and go 
into the other pit dug in the ground, which was very large, and 
filled with water. Here they would wash their heads and necks, 
and other parts of their bodies, till they had cleansed themselves 
from the sweat and dust occasioned by their hunting - and this 
custom was very wholesome and refreshing, for they would rub 
their limbs and their joints till they had forgot all their fatigue, 
and became as sprightly and active as when they began their 
sport in the morning : when they were perfectly clean, they 
would put on their clothes, and begin their meal. ' 

After they had eaten they would apply themselves to build 
huts and tents, where they made their beds, and designed to re- 
pose themselves for the following night. These beds were com- 
posed and laid out with great exactness They cat down branches 
of trees, which they placed next the ground ; upon these was 


laid a quantity of dry moss, and upon the top of all was strewed 
a bundle of green rushes, which made a very commodious lodg- 
ing. These beds, in the ancient manuscripts, are called Tri 
ouilceadha na feine ; which in English signifies the three beds 
of the Irish militia. 

•Campian, an author of little veracity, would impose upon 
the world, by asserting that Fionn, the son of Cumhall, was 
known by the name of Roanus ; but this is either an ignorant 
mistake or a signal instance of the prejudice of this writer, for 
the father of Cumhall was Trein More, the fourth lineal de- 
scendant of Nuagadh Neacht, king of Leinster, and the mother 
of Fioan was Muirn Munchaomh, the daughter of Thady, the 
son of Nuagatt, an eminent druid, retained in the 'family of 
Cathaoir More. Almhuin, in the province of Leinster, was the 
native country and inheritance of Thady, the son of Nuagatt, 
upon which account Fionn obtained possession of Almhuin, in 
right of his mother ^ yet Fionn was invested with the country 
of Formaoilna Bhfian, in Cinseallach, where Limerick, in Lein- 
ster, now stands, by the donation of the king of Leinster. 

Hector Boetius, another fabulous writer, in his history oi 
Scotland, imposes upon the world, by asserting that Fionn was 
of a gigantic size, and that he was fifteen cubits high ; but by 
the ancient records of the kingdom, whose authority will be for 
ever sacred with me, it appears that Fionn did not exceed the 
common proportion of the men of his time : and there were 
many soldiers in the militia of Ireland, that had a more robust 
constitution of body, and were of a more extraordinary sfcatiire ^ 
and the reason why Fionn was the general and first commanding 
officer over the Irish militia was, because his father and grand- 
father enjoyed the same dignity before him, and had the honour 
to be at the head of these invincible troops ; but upon this ao-^ 
count more especially he had the principal command of the 
standing army, as he was a person of superior courage, of great 
learning and militar 7 experience, which accomplishments ad- 
vanced him in the esteem of the soldiery, who thought him 
worthy to lead them. His uncommon stature, therefore, and 
gigantic streagth, are mere fictions, designed to abuse the world, 
and to destroy the credit of these historians who treat upon 
the affairs of the old Irish government. 

The constant number of those standing forces, that were 
quartered upon the kingdom of Ireland, was three battalions, 
each battalion consisting of 3,000 able men. But this was thg 
establishment only in time of peace, when there were no dis 



turbances at home, or fear of any invasions from abroad. But 
if there were any public discontents, or aiT^y apprehensions of a 
rebellion or a conspiracy ; if there arose any contests between 
the king and his nobility, or the king foand himself under a 
necessity to transport a body of troops into Scotland, to assist 
the Dailriads, or upon any surprise or difficulties of the state, 
Fionn increased his forces to the number of seven battalions, 
which was strength sufficient to assist his friends, the Dailriads, 
in Scotland, and to defend the kingdom of Ireland from the 
attacks of domestic or foreign enemies. 

It has been observed, that Fionn was the commander-in-chief 
of the Irish militia, but he had several inferior officers, who, in 
their degrees, exercised an authority under him, by his commis- 
sion. Every battalion or legion was commanded by a colonel ; 
every hundred men were under the conduct of a captain ; an 
officer, in the nature of a lieutenant, bad fifty under him ; and 
a sergeant, resembling the Decurio of the Romans, was set over 
five-and-twenty : but when an hundred of these militia were 
drawn out, by ten in a rank, there was an officer appointed over 
every ten of them commonly called the commander of ten ; 
and, therefore, when the chronicles of Ireland make mention of 
Fear Comhlan Cead, or Fear Comhlan Caoguid, which signifies 
a man able to engage with a hundred, and another to fight with 
fifty, it is not to be understood as if the first was able to en- 
counter an hundred himself, and conquer them with his own 
hand, or the other had the courage to engage with fifty, and 
come off with victory ; the meaning is, that such an officer had 
the command of an hundred men, with whom he would fight 
hand to hand with the same number of enemies ; and that an 
officer who had fifty under him, would engage with any fifty 
that opposed him, with their commander at the head of them. 

Every soldier that was received into the militia of Ireland 
by Fionn, was obliged, before he was enrolled, to subscribe to 
the following articles : the first, that, when he was disposed to 
marry, he would not follow the mercenary custom of insisting 
upon a portion with a wife, but, without regard to her fortune, he 
should choose a woman for her virtue, her courtesy, and good 
manners. The second, that he would never offer violence to a 
woman, or attempt to ravish her. The third, that he would be 
charitable and relieve the poor, who desired meat or drink, as 
far as his abilities would permit. The fourth, that he would 
not turn his back, or refuse to fight with nine men of any other 
nation that set upon him, and offered to fight with him. 


It must not be supposed, that every person who was willing 
to be enlisted in the militia of Ireland, would be accepted ; for 
Fionn was very strict in his inquiry, and observed these rules 
in filling up the number of his troops, which were exactly fol- 
lowed by his successors in command, when they had occasion to 
recruit their forces. 

He ordained, therefore, that no person should be enlisted or 
received into the service, in the congregation or assembly of 
Visneach, or in the celebrated fair of Tailtean, or at Feaa 
Teamhrach, unless his father and mother, and all the relatives 
of his family, would stipulate and give proper security, that 
not one of them should attempt to revenge hi^ death upon the 
person that slew him, but to leave the affair of his death wholly 
in the hands of his fellow-soldiers, who would take care to do 
him justice as the case required ; and it was ordained, likewise, 
that the relations of a soldier of this militia should not receive 
any damage or reproach for any misbehaviour committed by him. 

The second qualification for admittance into these standing 
forces was, that no one should be received unless he had a 
poetical genius, and could compose verses, and was well ac- 
quainted with the twelve books of poetry. 

• The third condition was, that he should be a perfect master 
of his weapons, and able to defend himself against all attacks ; 
and to prove his dexterity in the management of his arais, he 
was placed in a plain field, encompassed with green sedge, that 
reached above his knee ; he was to have a target by him, and a 
hazle stake in his hand of the length of a man's arm. Then nino 
experienced soldiers of the militia were drawn oat, and ap- 
pointed to stand at the distance of nine ridges of land f^om him, 
and to throw all their javelins at him at once ; if he had the 
skill, with his target and his stake, to defend himself, and come 
off unhurt, he was admitted into the service j but if he had the 
misfortune to be wounded by one of those javelins, he vras re- 
jected as unqualified, and turned off with reproach. 

A fourth qualification was, that he should run well, and in 
his flight defend himself from his enemy ; and to make a trial 
of his activity he had his hair plaited, and was obliged to run 
through a wood, with all the militia pursuing him, and was al- 
lowed but the breadth of a tree before the rest at his setting 
out j if he was overtaken in the chase, or received a wound be- 
fore he had ran through the wood, he was refused, as too slug- 
gish and unskilful to fight with honour among those vaiiaufc 


It was required, in the fifth place, that whoever was a candi- 
<3ate for admission into the militia, should have a strong arm, 
and hold his weapons steady ; and if it was observed that his 
hands shook, he was rejected. 

The sixth requisite was, that when he ran through a wood his 
hair should continue tied up, during the chase ; if it fell loose, 
he could not be received. 

The seventh qualification was, to be so swift and light of foot 
OS not to break a rotten stick by standing upon it. 

The eighth condition was, that none should have the honour 
of being enrolled among the Irish militia, that was not so active' 
as to leap over a tree as high as his forehead ; or could not, by 
the agility of his body, stoop easily under a tree that was lower 
than his knees. 

The ninth condition required was, that he could, without 
stopping or lessening his speed, draw a thorn out of his foot. 

The tenth and last qualification was, to take an oath of alle- 
giance to be true and faithful to the commanding officer of the 
army. These were the terms required for admission among 
these brave troops ; which, so long as they were exactly insisted 
upon, the militia of Ireland were an invincible defence to their 
country, and a terror to rebels at home and enemies abroad. 

It happened, that, when Cormac was monarch of Ireland, some 
of the principal gentry of the province of Ulster transported 
themselves into Scotland^ and committed great hostilities upon 
the coasts : and: in some of their incursions, they had the for- 
tune to surprise the beautiful Ciarnuit, daughter to the king of 
the Picts. With this fair prize, and other valuable booty, they 
returned into Ireland. The beauty of this captived lady could 
not be long concealed, and came at length to the ears of Cormac, 
who, before he saw her. was so transported with the relation of 
her charms, that he demanded her of the gentry who brought 
her out of her own country , accordingly she was presented to 
the king, who fitted up an apartment for her in his palace, and 
valued her beyond all the ladies of his court. 

But her beauty, and the place she had in the king's favour, 
occasioned her many enemies ; and the queen resolved upon re- 
venge, for robbing her of her husband's love, and soon found 
means to put her designs in execution. The queen of Cormac 
at this time was Eithne Ollamhada, the daughter of Dunluing, 
and, being a lady of great spirit, she resented the indignity she 
had received in so violent a manner, that she boldly told the 
king, that, unless he would deliver into her hands this mistress 


of his, she would leave the court, and separate herself from him 
for ever. Cormac, unwilling to incense his inj ured queen, and 
to drive her to extremities, resigned the fair Ciarnuit into hei' 
hands, whom she used with great severity, and, as a punishment, 
obliged her every day to grind with a quern or hand-mill nine 
quarters of corn. But notwithstanding the close confinement 
she was under, the king could not give up his passion, but found 
^eans to be admitted privately where she lay, and got her with 
jhild. Her slavery was continued by the queen, who insisted 
on the quantity of meal ; but when she grew big she became 
weak and faint, and unable to perform the task enjoined her. 
In this distress, upon the first opportunity, she applied herself 
to the king, and complained so tenderly of her misfortunes, that 
he dispatched a messenger to Scotland, who brought over with 
him one of the most expert carpenters of the kingdom. This 
skilful mechanic in a short time erected a mill, by means of 
which the unfortunate Ciarnuit was delivered from the daily 
servitude enjoined her by the queen, as a just revenge for de- 
frauding her of the esteem and affections of the king. This 
transaction contmues upon record, in the verses of an ancient 
poet, in this manner : 

The lovely Ciarnuit, forced away 

And taken captive by her enemie?, 

Was made a present to the Irish monarch, 

The royal Cormac, who, by beauty's charms 

Subdued, esteem'd her mistress of his heart. 

The jealous queen, mth keen resentment fir'd, 

Demanded, in revenge, the Scottish lady. 

To be delivered to her mercy. The king 

Unwillingly consented ; for the fair 

Unfortunate Ciarnute was obliged 

To turn a mUl, and, with her tender hands, * 

To grind of corn nine quarters every day. 

In this distress, and in her poor apartment, 

The king woiild privately be introduced 

Till she grew big with child, and then, unable 

To undergo the slavery of the mill, 

She cried, and humbly begg'd her royal lover 

To send to Scotland for a skilful workman, 

Who, by his art, could make a proper engine 

To grind without her hand. The king complied ; 

The workman came, and, by his cunning skill, 

He made a mill, and eas'd her of her pains. 

In the reign of Cormac, king of Ireland, it was, that the fa- 
mous Fiothall flourished, who was the chief justice of the kin^- 


dom. This learned judge had a son, whose name was Flaifch- 
righe : when he was upon his death-bed he sent for his son, who 
waif a person of great learning and every way accomplish sd : 
and, when he Lad given him his blessing in the most affection- 
ate manner, he obliged him, by the bonds of his duty, to observe 
four particulars, that would be of great service in the future 
management of his life : — The first, that he should not undertake 
the charge of educating and maintaining a king^s son : the se- 
cond, that he should not impart any secrets of importance to 
his wife : the third, that he should not advance, nor be concerned 
in promoting a clown, or a person of low birth and ill manners ; 
the fourth, was not to admit his sister into the government of 
his affairs, nor trust her with the keeping of his house, or of 
his money. These were the injunctions the expiring father laid 
upon his son, who, after his decease, resolved to make trial whe- 
ther it was of any consequence to observe them, and whether 
any signal misfortune would attend the breach of them. 

Accordingly he took upon himself the education of the son 
of Cormac, king of Ireland, and engaged to breed him up. 
When the child was able to go of itself and to speak intelligi- 
bly, Flaithrighe carried him into a wood, and committed him 
to the care of one of his herdsmen, an honest man, and wliose 
fidelity he could confide in ; he strictly commanded him to con- 
ceal the child in the most retired place of the wood, and admit 
no body to the sight of him, unless he sent him a certain to- 
ken, which was the sign that he might safely trust the person 
to see him. When he had thus provided for the security of the 
child, he returned home, and pretended to be exceedingly sor- 
rowful and dejected, as if some misfortune of consequence had 
befallen him : his wife observing him seemingly oppressed with 
grief, inquired into the reason of his sorrow, which would be 
eased by being discovered to her, whu would willingly endure 
a part with him in his sufferings. He gave her no answer at 
first, which increased her curiosity, and she repeated her impor- 
tunity, and more passionately entreated him to communicate to 
her the cause of his af&iction ; at last he complied, but upon 
this condition, that she would never discover what he told her 
to any creature living : she immediately bound herself to se- 
crecy by a solemn oath, and he, upon this security, informed 
her, that the reason of his melancholy was, that he had unfor- 
tunately killed the young prince committed to his care. The 
woman, forgetting the obligation of her oath, and unmindful of the 
duty she owed to her husband, immediately cried out, and basely 


breaking her trust, she called the servants of the family to seize 
upon their master, who was a murderer and a traitor, for he had 
destroyed the king's son. The servants, surprised at the cruaity 
of the action, and urged by the instigation of their mistress, 
seized upon Flaithrighe, and when they had bound him they de- 
livered him into the hands of justice. 

In this manner were the two first injunctions of the father 
violated by the son, in order to make trial of the force and im- 
portance of them. The third he proved, by advancing the son 
of one of his shepherds, who was an illiterate person, and of no 
education, and promoting him to a good estate and an honour- 
able employment. The fourth he made an experiment of, by 
committing, after his father's decease, the greatest part of his 
fortune to his sister, and trusting her with the principal manage- 
ment of all his affairs. 

Flaithrighe was brought to trial for the murder of the king's 
son, and being convicted by the evidence of his wife, to whom 
le had confessed the fact, he was cast for his life, and by express 
sentence from the judge he was condemned to die ; and the most 
violent enemy in his misfortunes was the ungrateful son of the 
shepherd, whom he raised from poverty into plenty and gran- 
duer ; for he thought that, when Flaithrighe was executed, he 
should have an opportunity of purchasing his forfeited estate of 
the king, which he was able to do, by the great riches conferred 
upon him by his benefactor, whose life he resolved if possible to 
destroy. The unfortunate Flaithrighe thought that a sum of 
money, if well applied among the' courtiers, might procure him 
a reprieve, and therefore he sent a messenger to his sister, to 
desire she would send him the bags he had intrusted her with, 
for his life was in the utmost danger, and if she denied him. he 
was sure to be executed in a few days. The sister most inhumanly 
refased, adding this falsehood to her cruelty, that she never re- 
ceived any money from him, and wondered at the insolence of 
his demand. Flaithrighe, astonished at this reply, and the time 
of his execution approaching, desired, before his death, to be 
admitted into ttie king's presence, for he had a matter of great 
importance to communicate. His request being granted, he 
humbly asked pardon for reporting that the prince was dead, 
and assured him that his information was false, for he was alive 
and in perfect health ; and, says he, if your majesty distrust the 
truth of this, I will immediately send for him, and he shall ap- 
pear safe before you. The king was surprised at this discovery, 
and commanded him to dispatch a messenger for the youth, and 

. OF IRELAND. 291 

bring bim instantly to court ; threatening liim withal, that if 
this account of his proved false, he should be loaded with irons, 
and suffer the most ignomious and cruel death. The pri- 
soner, as he was ordered, sent to his herdsman, and gave the 
messenger the sign agreed upon, whereby he was sure that tlio 
prince would be delivered. The child was soon brought to court 
and into the presence of the king, where his foster-father was, 
and when the youth beheld him fettered as a malefactor, he cried 
out, and humbly entreated the king, that the irons should be 
taken off. Flaithrighe was immediately released, and received 
into the king's favour, as a testimony of his innocence. 

Cormac, being fully satisfied when he saw his son alive, do- 
raanded of Flaifehrighe, what was the reason of this behaviour 
of his, and for what ends he brought himself under those diffi- 
culties, as to suffer imprisonment and fetters, and to put his life 
into the utmost hazard ? He answered that his design was only 
CO prove the importance of four notable injunctions that his 
father laid upon him before his decease. The first, says he, waa 
that I should not take upon me the care of educating and breed- 
ing up the son of a king, because if the youth comes to mis- 
chance or dies, the life of the foster-father is in the king's hand, 
and he lies wholly at his mercy. The second was, not to commit 
a secret to a woman, because the whole sex are talkative and 
unguarded, and oftentimes bring the life and honour of their 
husbands into danger, by discovering what they are bound by 
the most solemn obligations to conceal. The third command 
was, that I should not be concerned in advancing the son of a 
clown, of mean extract and low education ; because he soon for- 
gets his benefactor, that raised him from poverty and rags into 
jjlenty and honour j his "principle is ingratitude, and he often 
contrives the destruction of his friend, in order to conceal the 
lowness of his descent and the baseness of his original. The last 
injunction was, that I should not commit the keeping of my 
wealth, or any valuable part of my fortune, into the hand of my 
sister ; and for an infallible reason, because it is the practice of 
women to make a prey of what they get into their hands, and 
what they receive only in trust, they understand as a gift, they 
rifle their nearest relations, and, if opportunity offers, will plun- 
der them of all they have. 

It was an established law, in the reign of Cormac, king of 
Ireland, that every monarch of the kingdom should be attended 
by these ten officers, which he was obliged to have always in his 
letinue, a lord, a judge, an augur or druid, a physician, a poet. 


an antiquary, a mii:sician, and tliree stewards of his household. 
The duty of the lord was, to be a cotnpauion for the king, and to 
entertain him with suitable discourse and conversation. The 
office of the judge was, to administer justice to the subjects, to 
publish the laws and customs of the country, and to preside in 
courts of judicature under the king, who was generally present 
in those assemblies. The function of the druid was, to regulate 
the concerns of religion, and the worship ol the gods, to offer 
Bacrifices, to divine and foretel, for the use and advantage of 
the king and country. The physician was to preserve the health 
of the king, the queen, and the royal family, and to administer 
medicines upon proper occasions. The poet was to transmit to 
posterity the heroic and memorable actions of famous men, of 
whatsoever quality they weie ; to compose satires upon de- 
bauchery and vice ; and to lash the immorality of courtiers 
and inferior persons, without partiality or affjction. The office 
of the antiquary was, to preserve the genealogies of the kings 
of Ireland, to correct the regal tables of succession, and to de- 
liver down the pedigrees of every collateral branch of the royal 
family. He had likewise authority to supervise the genealogies 
of the gentry and other private persons, and enter them into 
the public records of the kingdom. The musician was to divert 
the kinoj with his instruments, to sinoj before him, when he was 
pleased to throw off public cares, and to ease his mind from the 
business of the state. The tliree principal stewards of the 
household were to provide for his table, to wait upon the king 
when he dined or eat in public, and to govern the inferior 
oiiicers and servants of the kitchen, and when they offended to 
inflict proper punishments upon them. 

These regulations and orders were observed strictly, for many 
a^es, by the successive monarchs of the kingdom, from the 
reign of Cormac, to the death of Bryen. the son of Kennedy, 
without any alteration. But when the kings of Ireland were 
received into the Christian faith, they dismissed the druid, who 
was a pagan, and admitted into his place a Christian priest, as 
a confessor, whose business it was to instruct the king in the 
principles of his holy faith, and to assist him in his devotions. 
These ancient customs of the Irish kings are confirmed by the 
testimony of an eminent poet of great antiquity, who upon 
this occasion has left these lines : 

Ten royal officers, for use and state, 
Attend the court, and on the monarch wait : 


A nobleman, Avhose virtuous actions grace 

His blood, and add new glories to his race. 

A judge, to fix the meaning of the laws, 

To save the poor, and right the injur'd cause. 

A grave physician, by his artful care 

To ease the sick, and weaken'd health repair. 

A poet, to applaud and boldly blame. 

And justly to give infamy or fame ; 

For without him the freshest laurels fade. 

And vice to dark oblivion is betray'd. 

The next attendant was a faithful priest, ' 

Prophetic fury roll'd within his breast : 

Full of his god, he tells the distant doom 

Of kings unborn, and nations yet to come ; 

Daily he worships at tlie holy shrine, . 

And pacifies his gods with rites divine. 

With constant care the sacrifice renews. 

And anxiously the panting entrails views. 

To touch the harp, the sweet musician bends, 

And both his hands upon the strings extends ; 

The sweetest sound fiows from each warbling string, 

Soft as the breezes of the breathing spring. 

Music has poAv'r the passions to control. 

And tunes the harsh disorders of the soul. 

The antiquary, by his skill, reveals 
The race of kings, and all their offspring tells. 
The spreading branches of the royal Ime, 
Traced out by him, in lasting records shine. 

Tlu-ee ofllcers in lower order stand. 
And, when he dines in state, attend the Idng's command. 

Cormac, the monarch of Ireland, it must be obssrved, wag a 
prince of great virtue and strict morality, and very exact in the 
worship of the Deity, as far as the light of nature informed 
him ; and his piety and devotion found acceptance and a re- 
ward from above, for the merciful God was pleased to deliver 
him from the obscurity of pagan darkness, and enlightened him 
with the true faith of the gospel. He was converted seven 
years before his death, during which time he refused to adore 
his false deities, and instead of bowing to his idols, he did ho- 
mage as a devout Christian to the true God ; so that this prince 
was the third person who believed in the faith of Christ, before 
the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland. The names of these con- 
verts were Connor, the son of Neasa, who was informed of the 
sufferings of Christ, and the redemption of mankind, by Bac- 
rach, a pagan druid ; Moran, son of Maoin, the second, and 
Cormac, king of Ireland. 

This prince kept his court, as did most of his predecessors in 
the throne of Ireland, at the royal palace of Tara, till he had 


the misfortune to lose kis eye by Aoiigas Gaothbhuailfceach, ag 
before mentioned ; and from that time till he died, he lived in 
a very mean house, covered with thatch, at Anachuill, in Ceana- 
nus. The reason of retiring from his court was, because the 
principal nobility and gentry of the kingdom supposed it to be 
a bad omen for the happiness of the public, if a king, who had 
any blemish upon him, should reside in the royal palace of 
Tara ; and therefore Cormac resigned the government to his 
son, whose name was Cairbre LifFeachair, and contented himself 
with that ordinary house at Anachuill, which was not far from 
the court. In this contented privacy he spent the remainder 
of his life ; and, being a prince of great learning, and an accom- 
plished statesman, here it was that he drew up that admirable 
treatise, called Advice to kings, for the use of his son, as was 
observed before ; and during his retreat from public business, 
he banished all rit^s of superstition and idolatry, and improved 
himself in the worship and knowledge of the true God. 

In those pagan times, one of the idols of the ancient Irish 
was a golden calf, and it happened, that when Cormac was em- 
p'oying himself in devotion in his thatched house, some of the 
druids that belonged to the court, brought this image into his 
presence, and, as their custom was, fell down before it, and 
adored it with divine worship ; but the king contmued his ad- 
dresses to the true God, and would not comply with their ido- 
latry. Maoilogeann, who was the principal of these pagan 
priests, perceiving that the king acted in contempt of their 
holy rites, demanded of him the reason why he did not comply 
with the religion of his ancestors, and pray to the golden calf, 
and conform to the established worship 1 The king answered, 
that it was beneath the dignity of a rational being to adore a 
brute, which he determined never to do, much less a log of wood 
fashioned by the workman's hand, who was no more able to 
make a God than to create himself, and therefore he would direct 
his addresses to that supreme Being, who formed the carpenter 
and the tree, superstitiously converted into a god. Tne druid 
then conveyed away the image, and soon after brought it to the 
king, and presented it before him, dressed in the most magnifi- 
cent attire, decked with jewels, and confidently demanded, 
whether he would not address himself to a deity so splendidly 
arrayed, and of so majestic appearance 1 Cormac replied, that 
it was in vain to tempt him to idolatry, for he was resolved to 
pay no divine homage but to the one supreme God, the Creator 
of the heavens and of the earth, and of a place of punishment 

OF IRELAND. . 295 

for tliG wicked, who corrupt his worship, and disobey his laws. 
This resolution of the king, it is supposed^ cost him. his life ; for 
.the very same day; in the evening, a salmon was provided lot 
his supper, which the sorcery and magical art of this pagan 
priest had so enchanted, that a bone of the fish stuck in the 
king's throat, and choked him. Other authorities assert, that 
as the king was at supper eating. the fish, a number of infernal 
fiends were raised by the charms of the druid Maoilogeann, who 
set upon the king, and strangled him : but before he expired, 
he gave orders to his servants not to bury him in the royal 
sepulture of the Irish monarchs ; for he would not have his dust 
mixed with that of his pagan predecessors. 

His commands were obeyed, and another place was appointed 
for his interment ; but as his body was carrying upon a bier, 
after the custom of the country^ the river Boyue was so enlarged, 
and overflowed its banks in so wonderful a manner, by the 
wicked arts of these infernal spirits, that the bearers could not 
attempt to pass over the channel ; for these furies of hell would 
not admit his body to be buried in a temple devoted to their 
service, because he refused to conform to their abominable rites, 
and introduced a way of worship in opposition to the established 
religion. This stratagem these cursed spirits made use of three 
several times, in order to prevent the interment of the body j 
but the servants, intrusted with the care of the funeral, did 
not desist from their duty, for, notwithstanding these dreadful 
discouragements, they made a fourth attempt to carry the royal 
corpse over the river, but the body was whirled out of the r 
hands by a hurricane, and dropped into the stream, which was 
so rapid, that it rolled it along to Rosnaroigh, where it was washed 
off from the carriage. Upon this account that part of the river 
Boyne is distinguished by the namf^ of Athfuaid to this day : 
for Ath in the Irish language signifies a ford, and the word 
Fuaid, a bier, which, being joined, are pronounesd Athfuaid. 
The bod}'-, when it was found, was taken up, and buried solemnly 
at Rosnaroigh. 

A long time after this action, as the chronicles of Ireland in- 
form us, the head of this monarch was found by St. Collum 
Cill. or, as modern authors call him, St. Columba, who buried 
it ; and in the same place he contmued till he had celebrated 
thirty masses for his departed soul, which gave occasion to the 
erecting of a church over the grave, which remains to this day. 

In those times there were two remarkable temples, or bury- 
ing-places, where most of the Irish monarchs were interred. The 


names of these royal repositories were, ferugh na Boine, and 
Koilic na Riogh, near Cruachan, in the province of .Conacht. 
The latter of these was of principal note, and contained the 
bodies of most of the ancient kings ; as the learned Torne Eigis, 
an omiuent poet, gives us to understand, in the following verses : 

This sepulture preserves the royal dust 

Of the renowned monarchs of the isle. 

Here Dathy lies (whose acts were sung by fame) 

Near Cruachan's pensive walls ; close by whose side, 

For great exploits in war and equal arms 

Dreaded, Dungalach sleeps ; who from his foe, 

Wrested by greater might, to his own sway, 

Numbers of captiv'd hosts in fetters bound, 

Witnessing thraldom. Near the mournful shade 

These weeping marbles cast, are also laid 

The great remains of Conn, who sway'd with fame 

Hibemia's royal sceptre ; nor deny 

To hold the kindred dust, in love once join'd, 

Of Tuathal and Tumultach, who their sire, 

Wliile mortal, Eochaidh Feidhlioch own ; 

He too, great parent of three sons as brave, 

Mingles his dust with those he once mspir'd 

With happy life ; nor does the grave refuse 

To lieep the bi-eathless dust, by death disjoin 'd, 

Of Eochaidh Airiamh, who his fate 

Ow'd to Mormaol's sword, witn blood distain'd. 

Nor could thy beauty, lovely once, secure 

Thee Clothro. or from death's subduing arm 

Guard thy all-conquering eyes, whose lance destj'oy'd 

(With thee in blood alike and charms alliec 

Thy sisters Meidhbh and Murasg ; heie entomb'd 

They rest in silence, near thre ■ royal queens, 

(Forgetful now in death they ever reign d ; 

Eire, Fodhla, Banba, from the scepter'd line 

Sprung of the Tuatha de Danans, far renown'd 

For dire enchanting arts and ma .^ic power. 

In this repositorj"- sleep m peace 

Cearmada's royal sons ; three warlike names, 

While life and vigom* could their arm inspire, 

Now lifeless each, nor more intent on fame. 

Here valiant IMidher rests, to death a prey. 

While the still monument seems proud to hold 

The relicts of great Gaol and Ugaine, 

Mixt with the brother dust, which lies entomb'd, 

Of Cobhthach and Badhbhcha, who, in happier times 

Were born, now sleep near Oiholl's princely urn. 

Eochaidh Gunait succeeded in the throne of Ireland. 

4^:. o He was the son of Feig, son of Jomachaidh, son of Brea- 

sal, son of Fionchadha, son of Fiachadh Fionn (from 

whom Duilbfiath obtained its name), son of Dluthaig, sou of 


Deithsin, son of Sin^ son of Rosiiij son of Airndill, son of Maine, 
son of Forga, son of Feargus, son of Oilioll, son €if Fiachadii 
Fearmara, son of Aongus Tuirmheach, of Tara, ?• prince de- 
scended from the royal line of Heremon. He was monarcii of 
tiie island one year, and was slain by Lughaidh Feirtre. 

Cairbre Liffeachair, the son of Cormac, son of Art, son 
or/ of Conn, the hero of the hundred battles, succeeded, and 
governed the kingdom twenty-seven years. He was distin- 
guished by the name of Cairbre Liffeachair, because he was nursed 
near the banks of the river Liffee, in Leinster. The mother of this 
prince was Eithnc Ollamhda. the daughter of Dunluing, the son ot 
Eana Madh : and he was slain by Simeon, the son of Ceirb, 
who came from the confines ot Cource, or the borders of Lein- 
ster, in the battle of Gabhra, that was fought betw^een this 
monarch and the militia di" the kingdom, who took up arms 
against him. The, reat^on ot this i ebellion, and the engagement 
that followed it, is recorded in this manner. 

There w^as a lady, the daughter of Fionn, the general ot the 
Irish militia, whose name was Samuir ^ her father bestowed her 
upon Cormas Cas. son of Oilioll Olum^ by whom 'she had two 
sons, who were c:illed Tinne and Conla, Upon account of this 
relation it was that Modha Corb, the son of Cormac Cas, kept, 
as h^ confident, his uncle Oisin. the son of Fionn and Clana 
Baoisgine, expressly contrary to the consent and order of Cairbre 
Liffeachair and Aodh Caomh, son of Gai idh Glandubh, of 
Clana Morna. At this time, it must be observed, that Clana 
Morna had authority to quarter and billet the militia of the 
kingdom, who were in a state of mutiny and rebellion against 
Fionn and Clana Baoisgine, and had been so for seven years 
before. For this reason Clana Morna attempted to persuade 
Cairbre Liffeachair, and the .provincialists of Ire^nd, to re- 
establish Modha Corb in the throne of Munster, from a prospect 
that Clana Baoisgine would be expelled the province ; which 
was the true occasion of the battle whei ^^n this monai'ch lost 
his life. 
.-).-, Fathach Airgtheach and Fathaci Cairptheach, the two 
sons of Mac Con, son of Maciiiaali^ son of Luigheach, 
descended from the posterity of Ith, tiie son of Breogan, 
possessed themselves of the government ; but their reign was 
short, for they did not govern a whole year before they were 
slain. Fathach Cairptheach fell by the sword of his brother 
Fathach Airgtheach ; but he did not long survive this fratri- 


cide, for he was soon dethroued by the militia of the kingdom, 
who killed him in the battle of Ollarbha. 

Fiachadh Sreabhthuine was the succeeding monarch. 
2 or,* He was the son of Cairbre LiiFeachair, son of Cormao 
Ufada, derived from the royal line of Heremon, and sat 
upon the throne thirty years, but fell at last by the sword of the 
three Collas, in the bloody battle of Dubhcliomar. This prince 
obtained m marriage Aoife, the daughter of the king of Gall 
Gaodhal, by whom he had a son called Muireadhach Tireach. 
He was known by the name of Fiachadh Sreabhthuine, Decause 
he was bred up, and had his education in Dun Sreabthuine, ia 
the province of Conacht. 

To enlighten this pd-rt of the history, as far as the ruins of 
time will give leave, it is proper to take notice of the reason 
tnat gave occasion to this battle of Dubhchomar, which stands * 
lecorded in that valuable record, the Psalter of Cashel j and 
likewise some account should be given of- the genealogies that 
belong to the relations of the Collas, which Fiachadh Sreabh- 
thuine. son of Cairbre Liffeachair, divided ; Clana Gcolla, and 
the Oirgiallaidh, from Clana Neill, and the posterity of the 
same family, in the province of Conacht. 'J. his prince, Fiachadh 
Sreabhthuine we have observed, was the son of Cairbre Liflfea- 
chair, and was the grandfather of Eochaidh Muighmeodhain, 
son of Muireadhach Tireach, son of Fiachadh Sreabhthuine ^ 
from this prince Muireadhach descended Clana Neill, and those 
of the same tribe in the province of Conacht. Eochaidh Dubh- 
lein, the son of Cairbre Liffeachair, was likewise brother to Fia- 
ciiadb Sreabthuine ; this Eochaidh, we find, had three sons, who 
were distinguished by the title of the three Collas, from whom 
descended Ui Mac Vais, Ui Criomthan, and Mogh Drona. The 
proper naij|es of these three brothers, called the Collas, were 
Cairioll, Muireadhach, and Aodh : and this we understand by 
the testimony of an ancient poet, who has transmitted the 
axjcount to us m these lines . 

Three princes, once the glory of the ^sle, 
Known by the name of the three warhke OAlns. 
W ere sons of Eochaidh ; and in battle slew 
Tht Irish monarch, for heroic deeds 
EenowTi'd, and seiz'd upon the Irish sceptre ; * 
These brothers are in ancient records call'd 
Aodh, Muireadhach, and Cairioll, 
Or for distinction otherwise express'd, 
Cairioll Colla Uais, Aodha Colla Mean, 
And Muii-eadhach Colla da Chrioch. 

OF IRELA^'D. 299 

The wife of Eochaidh Dubhlein was Oilean, the daughter of 
the king of Scotland, whose glory it was to be the mother of 
these three martial princes, the three CoUas ; who, entering into 
a conspiracy against their native prince, Fiachadh Sreahhthuine, 
by the success of their treason, in a decisive battle, wrested the 
sovereignty out of his hands, and put an end to his life. The 
true occasion of this rebellion is recorded in this manner. 

Fiachadh Sreahhthuine, the Irish monarch, had a son, whose 
name was Muireadhach Tireach. This young prince soon dis- 
covered a military genius, and obtained such experience in the 
art of war, that his father, convinced of his bravery and abi- 
lities, made him generalissimo of all his forces, and delivered 
into his hands the absolute command of his armies ; for at that 
time the king never exposed himself at the head of his forces, 
his royal life being of that importance as not to be hazarded 
upon the uncertain issues of a battle. Upon some prevocations 
from the king of Munster, it was thought necessary to send a 
strong body of troops into that province, under the command 
of Muireadhach, the young prince ; and fortune, whose darling 
he was, followed him in all his undertakings, for he succeeded 
in this expedition beyond his hopes, and brought away with him 
a great number of captives, and an immense booty. His father, 
Fiachadh Sreahhthuine, king oi Ireland, was encamped at that 
time at Dubhchomar, near Tailtean, with a numerous army ; 
for the three Collas, his brother's sons, had raised a considerable 
body of troops, and joined the forces of the king, who by these 
forces became formidable, and resolved to do himself justice 
upon his enemies. 

Now the success of the young prince, in the province of 
Munster, was known in the king's camp, which gave great satis- 
faction to his father, but was not so well received by the three 
Collas, who envied him the glory of his conquests, and therefore 
conspired to destroy the king, and seize upon the government ; 
for they apprehended that when the young prince came to the 
throne, he would resent some indignities he had received from 
them, and at least banish them the court, if not take away their 
lives. They, began, therefore, to concert measures, in order to 
execute their designs; and, prevailing upon some officers of 
the king's troops, they thought themselves able, with the 
forces they had brought along with them, and this additional 
strength, to engage with the Irish army, and give them battle j 
and if they came off with victory, they would be in a capacity 


to defeat the siiccessioa of the yoaug prince, and to seize upon 
the crown. 

It happened that at this time the king had a very eminent 
di'uid in his retinue, with whom he consulted upon this occa- 
sion ; for he was made sensible of the treachery of the three 
brothers, who had separated their forces from the Irish army, 
and withdrawn to some distance, with a design to fall upon the 
king. The druid, whose name was Dubhchomair, made use of 
his art, and informed his master, that he found it would be of 
the last importance to himself and his family, to save the life 
of the three Collas, notwithstanding their rebellion ; for if ha 
destroyed them, the crown of Ireland should not be worn by 
any of his posterity, but descend into another line. The king 
was somewhat surprised at this reply, but upon recollection 
made this gallant answer, that he would joyfully resign his life, 
so that he might secure the succession to his descendants, rather 
than, by destroying those three traitors, be instrumental iu 
fixing the crown upon the heads of their posterity ; and armed 
with this resolution, which added to his natural bravery, he 
drew out his forces, and fell upon the enemy 3 but his destiny, 
and the prediction of the druid followed him, for he was slain ia 
the action. 

Colla Uais, obtaining a complete victory, was pro- 
oi k' claimed monarch of the kingdom. He was the son of 
Cairbre LifFeachair, a descendant from the posterity of 
Heremon, and supported his title to the goverment four years. 
But the lawful heir, Muireadhach Tireach, the son of the de- 
ceased king, kept his pretensions on foot, and with a brave body 
of loyal troops engaged the usurper, and his success was equal 
to the justice of his cause, for he dethroned him, and drove him 
out of the kingdom. He fled for refuge with his two brothers 
to the court of the king of Scotland, where they were hospitably 
received, and allowed protection. The reason that prevailed 
lipon them to fly into that country was, because they bore a 
Yerj near relation to the king ; for the princess Oilean was a 
daughter to the king of Scotland, the wife of Eochaidh Dubh- 
lein, and the mother of these three ambitious brothers. This 
ursurper was distinguished by the name of Colla* Uais, as he 
was of a more noble and martial disposition than his brothers, 
and as he found means to fix the crown* of Ireland upon his 
head for some time, which the other two were so far from ac- 
complishiiig, that they were obliged to leave their country, and 
rejiove into a forem-n land to save their lives. 



Mtiu-eadhacli Tireach suGceeded the usurper. He was 
the son of Fiachadh Sreabhthuine, son of Cairbre 
LifFeachair, descemied from the royal line of Heremon, 
and governed the kingdom thirty years; but was at length 
killed by Caolbhach, the son of Cruin Badhraoi. The consort 
of this prince was Muirion, the daughter of Fiachadh, king of 
Cinneal Eoguin, and the mother of Eochaidh Muighmeodhoin. 
The three Collas, being expelled the kingdom ^gf Ireland, 
were forced to fly for refuge to the king of Scot'ia'^ a, who sup- 
ported them suitable to their quality, and entered, 300 soldiers, 
that followed them, into the regular pay of his c'vn army ; for 
they were a handful of brave hardy men, and ,^'pnderfally es- 
teemed by the king; fcft* the comeliness of their persons, and 
undaunted resolution and courage. The three brothers con- 
tinued in Scotland for the space of three years ; till tired at 
length of residing in a strange land, they called to mind the 
prediction of the druid bsfore-mentioned, which foretold, that 
if they fell by the hand of the king of Ireland, the crown should 
devolve upon their posterity ; they resolved, therefore, to ac- 
complish this prophecy, at all hazards, and settle the succession 
upon some of their descendants. ' Arriving in Ireland, with no 
more than nine persons to attend upon each of them, they 
directed their march towards the court, with a design to offer 
their lives into the king's hands, who, incensed with indignation 
and revenge, they expected would sacrifice them to the manes 
of his murdered father. When they came to Tara with so small 
a guard, they were admitted into the presence of the king, 
who, instead of committing them to prison, or punishing them 
with immediate death, as traitors and rebels, received them 
courteously, and congratulated them on their return to their 
own country. He asked them what news there was from Scot- 
land, and whether they were not dejected at the melancholy 
Btate of their affairs 1 They replied, that they were surprised 
at this unexpected reception, especially since they were the 
executioners of his royal father, which action sat very imeasy 
upon their minds, and gave them the utmost anguish in re- 
flecting upon it. The king answered, that clemency was one of 
the brightest jewels in the crowns of princes, and therefore he 
was contented to forgive their past crimes, and leave them to 
the justice of the immortal gods, and the sharp remorse of their 
own minds, which was the most severe torment that could be 
inflicted on the guilty ; and as a testimony that they might 
depend upon the promise of a king, he conferred upon them 


very signal marks of his favour, be settled a princely revenue 
upon them, and made them principal officers in the command 
©f his army. 

In these posts of trust and honour they continued for some 
'time, till the king, either jealous of their fidelity, or from a 
principle of friendship and affection, told them, that the places 
they enjoyed, and the salary attending them, would expire with 
their lives, and not descend to their families ; and therefore he 
recommended t<^. them to consider of some provision for their 
children, wh>.' would be left destitute, unless they took care to 
secure an estate for them in their life -time. He assured them 
they might rel ^' upon the continuance of his favour ; and, as an 
evidence of hiti esteem, ho generously offered them a number of 
troops, sufficient to support them in their attempts, and to make 
a conquest of lands and estates, that would be a dependance for 
their posterity. The brothers gratefully accepted of the king's 
proposal, and desired to kiiow what country was most proper 
for them to invade : the king replied, that the province of 
Ulster formerly offered such an indignity to 'one of their family, 
that it demanded full revenge ; his advice therefore was, that 
they should enter the country with fire and sword, and have 
satisfaction of the inhabitants for banishing Cormac, son of Art, 
after they had infamously branded him, by burning his beard 
with a candle, at Magh Breag. Tiiis injured prince was forced 
to fly for security into Conaoht, after he had been inhospitably 
treated by the king of Ulster, at whose command a servant held 
the lighted torch to his face ; and therefore they had a right, 
he thought, not only to do themselves justice upon the people, 
but to attempt the crown, and seize upon the governmsnt. 

Accordingly the three brothers, suppor^-ed by a numerous and 
well-disciplined army, entered the province of Ulster ; and, in- 
stead of opposition from the inhabitants, they were joined upon 
their arrival with a body of 7000 troops, and some of tae prm- 
cipal nobility of the country at the head of them, who promised 
to assist them in their pretensions, and stand by them with 
their lives and fortunes. This reinforcement put a good face 
Tipon the enterprise, and raised the mrage of the brothers, who 
directed their march towards the provincial army, and came to 
Carn Eochaidh Leathdhearg, in Fearmuighe. Here the king of 
Ulster was ready to receive the invaders, and both armies en- 
gaged ; a most desperate and bloody action it was, and after a 
sharp dispute, the three brothers won the field. The king" 
rallied his broken forces, and again offered battle to the victors, 


but without success ; for his army was routed in seven several 
engagements, one day after another, within the compass of a 
week. The last dispute ended with a most terrible slaughter of 
the king's troops ; and Feargus Fodha, king of Eamhain, was 
slain : his army instantly fled, and were pursued with incredible 
fury and bloodshed by the victors, who covered the earth with 
their dead bodies, from Carn Eochaidh to Gleanrighe. By this 
time the swords of the conquerors were so drenched and fati- 
gued with the execution they made, that they were forced to 
ciesist, or not a man of the provincial army could possibly have 

The three Collas, animated with this victory, returned with 
their forces to the palace of Eamhain, where the king of Ulster 
kept his court. This royal seat they plundered, and set it on 
fire ; by which means, though the fabric was not wholly con- 
sumed, yet it became so ruined and unfit for service, that ib 
could never recover its former magnificence, nor be used as a 
palace by the kings of that province. 

The brothers resolved to make the most of their success, and 
made an absolute conquest of the countries of Modernuigh, Ui 
Criomhthain, and Ui Mac Uais. Colla Mean, after he had dis- 
possessed the inhabitants, fixed himself in the possession of 
Modernuigh ; Colla da Chrioch obtained the territory of Criomh- . 
thain ; and Colla Uais settled himself in Mac Uais. With these 
transactions we shall conclude the reign of Muireadhach Tir- 
each, king of Ireland, who was slain by Gaolbhach, the son of 
Cruin Badhraoi. 

Caolbhach was the succeeding monarch. He was tha 
5^^' son of Cruin Badhraoi, son of Eachadh Ghobhna, son of 
Luighdheach, son of Jomchoda, son of Feidhlim, son of 
Cas, son of Fiachadh Aruidhe, son of Aongus Gaibion, son of 
Feargus Foglas, son of Tiobhruidhe Tireach, son of Breasal, son 
of Firb, son of Mail, son of Rochruidhe, a descendant from the 
posterity of Ir, the son of Milesius, king of Spain. He pos- 
sessed the sovereignty one year, and fell by the sword of Eoch- 
aidh Moighmeodhin. The mother oi this prince was Inniaoht, 
the daughter of Luighdheach. 

of-o Eochaidh Moighmeodhin was the succeeding monarch. 

He was the son of Muireadhach Tireach, son of Fiachadk 
S'-eabhthuine, a descendant from the royal line of Here- 
mon, and governed the island seven years. This prince ob- 
tained in marriage, for his first wife, Mung Fionn, the daughter 
of Fiodhuigh, by whom he had four sons, Brian, Fiachradh, 


Feargus, and Oilioll. After the decease of this lady, his second 
consort was a Welsh princess, whose name was Carthan Cas 
Dubh, daughter of the king of Wales, by whom he had a son, 
who for his valour and military exploits was known by the name 
of Niall of the nine hostages. This king was distinguished by 
the title of Eochaidh Moighmeodhin, because his head, and the 
features of his complexion, resembled his father, but the siz3 
and sha|)e of his body was like a common labourer, whose nam.e 
was Miongadhach. This prince was at war with the king of 
Leinster ; and the celebrated battle of Cruachan Claonta was 
fought between him and Eana Cinsalach, who had the govern- 
meut of that province. In this engagement a most eminent 
druid, whose name was Ceadmuithach, who was an attendant 
upon the king of Ireland, was taken prisoner by the army of 
Leinster. When he was brought before Eana Cinsalach, ho 
asked his officers how they came to spare the life of the priest, 
and did not put him to the sword without giving him quarter ? 
The druid, incensed with this question, boldly told the king, that 
whatever came of his life, he might be assured that he should 
never fight with success out of that field where he then stood. 
The king was enraged at this reply, and, with a scornful smile, 
instantly thrust his spear through the captive's body. The 
priest, perceiving himself ready to expire, had only time to as- 
sure the king, that the insulting smile, which attended the thrust 
that gave him his death's wound, should be a reproach to his 
posterity as long as one of them remained alive, for it should 
give them a name that would not be forgotten. This prediction 
was literally accomplished, for the family of this prince was 
afterwards known by the name of Vibh Cinsalach : the word 
Salach, in the Irish language, signifies foul or reproachful, a 
character that this royal line of Leinster could never wipe off. 
This king, Eana Cinsalach, was a fortunate and martial prince, 
and the most powerful and formidable of any of the petty princes 
of the island ; as a poet of credit and antiquity has confirmed 
in the following lines : 

The great Eana, that with honour fill'd 

The throne of Leinster, and by victory 

Followed where'er he fought, advanced the glory 

Of the province : as an annual tribute, raised ^ 

An ounce of gold on every village ; he forced 

From every house in Leatii Cuin, a tax i 

Of three pence j^early, as a just confession ; 

Of his imperial sway ; for to withstand ., 

liis power and his conunauds were certain death. 

or IRELAND. 305 

Though rage and cruelty did ever stain 

His royal breast, adorn'd with numerous triumphs 

He comes transmitted to posterity. 

The Psalter of Cashel, whose credit and authority will admit 
of no dispute, has it upon record, that the aforesaid Eana fought 
fifteen battles in Leath Cuin^ and came ofi with victory in 
every engagement. 

Criomthan sat next upon the throne of Ireland. He 
oAq' was the son of Fiodhuig, son of Daire Cearb, son of 
Oilioll Flanbeg, son of Feachadh Muilleathan, son of 
Eogan More, son of Oilioll Olum, descended from the poste- 
rity of Heber Fionn. and wore the crown seventeen years. The 
royal consort of this prince was Fidheang, the daughter of the 
king of Conacht. This monarch carried his arms into foreign 
nations, and overcame the Scots, the Britons, and the French, 
in several engagements; and made them tributaries. A poet, 
whose authority is unquestionable, has given this account iu 
the following manner .: 

--^ The fam'd Criomthan sway'd the Irish sceptre; 
^nd, cheaded for the fury of his arms, 

I His sovereignty extended cross the seas, 

I Unmindful of the dangers of the waves. ] 

- He with insuperable force subdued 

The Scots, the Britons, and the warlike Gauls, 
Who paid him homage, and confess'd his sway. 

This renowned monarch bestowed the kingdom of Munster 
upon Conall Eachluath, who had his education with him from 
his youth. The donation of this province to a stranger, was 
thought unjust by the posterity of Fiachadh Muilleathan, who 
judged it proper to represent to Conall, that he was put into 
possession of what he had no right to enjoy ; for though he 
was their kinsman, yet he could have no pretension to the crown of 
Munster, so long as the lawful heir was alive ; that the govern- 
ment of the province ought to descend lineally to Core, the son 
of Luighdheach, who descended from the line of Fiachadh : and 
worthy he was to fill the throne of his ancestors, being a prince 
of consummate wisdom and undaunted bravery This remon- 
strance had such an influence upon Conall, that he was willing to 
refer the case of the succession to proper arbitrators; that were 
learned in the law, and promised to abide by their determina- 
tion The rcatter was debated on both sides before the umpires, 
who came to this resolution, that Core, the son of Luighdl^each, 


should first take possessiou of the government of Munster, as 
■he was of the eldest branch, but the crown should not descend 
to his heirs ; for the succession was limited and settled upon 
the posterity of Cormac Cas. 

The family of Fiachadh Muilleathan agreed to this award, 
and engaged themselved by sureties, and the most solemn secu- 
rities, that after the decease of Core the crown should devolve 
upon Conali Eachluath, if living, or his immediate heir, with- 
out contest or disturbance. This act of succession was con- 
formable to what OilioU Olum had before established upon the 
same account ; for he ordained that the two families should 
have an alternate right to the crown of Munster successively, 
and the throne be tilled with the lineal posterity of Fiachadh 
Muilleathan, and the lawful descendants of Cormac Cas. 

Upon this arbitration the just and generous Conali resigned 
the government of Munster into the hands of Core, who, after 
a short reign, died : and then he re-assumed the crown, as his 
right, accurding to the establishment. By this uncommon act 
of equity Conali was had in such esteem by Criomthan, king of 
Ireland, that he delivered into his custody all the prisoners and 
hostages that he brought over with him in triumph from the 
kingdoms of Britain, Scotland, and France ; for he thought he 
could rely upon the integrity of a prince who delivered up the 
possession of a crown that he was able to defend, for no other 
reason but because he bad no right to it, and who therefore 
thought it would not sit easy upon his temples. This transac- 
tion is confirmed by a poem, to be found in the Psalter of 
Cashel, composed by that son of the Mus3s, Cormac Mac C-nil- 

The kings of dis*^ant lands were forced to own 
The victor's power, and to the great Criomthan 
Tribute and homage paid ; a worthier prmce 
Ke'er till'd a throne, nor sail'd to foreign shores, 
Unnumber'd captives he in triumph led, 
And hostages, the bonds of true submission. 
Tliese pledges, and the prisoners of his wars, 
He trusted in the hands of the brave Conali ; 
Than whom, a prince of more integrity. 
And stricter justice, never wore a crown. 
This prince, for arms and martial skill renown\l, 
Enlarg'd the bounds of his command, and rui'd 
With equity the countries he had won ; 
He govern'd Fearta Conuill, in Feimlim, 
And Druin Cormaic Aine, and Dungar ; 
His was the celebrated seat of Cashel, 
* ;^nd Maig and Duncearmna. 

OP 1KEL.1ND. 307 

The king Crioffithaa, notvAitiistanding his princjly accoai- 
plisiimeiits, could not be secure from the villanous attempts of 
liis own, sister, wh.ise name was Mung Fionn, for she resolved 
to destroy him, and prepared a dose of poison for that purpose, 
out of a prospect to obtain the crown for her son Brian, whom 
she had by Eochaidk Moighmeodhin. She found means to ad- 
minister the draught, which had the desired effect, for the king 
died at Sliabh Vidhe an Eiogh. that lies northward of Limerick. 
But vengeance close pursued the wicked executioner, who, the 
more securely to recommend the dose to the king, tasted of it 
herself, which despatched her at Inis Dornglass. 

Niall, distinguished by the name of the nine hostages, 
o'^^ succeeded. He was the son of Eochaidh Moighmeodhin, 
son of Muireadhach Tireach, descended from the royal 
line of Hersmon, and governed the kingdom twenty-seven years. 
The mother of this prince was Carthan Casdubh., daughter to 
the king of Britain. His first queen was Inne, the daughter of 
Luighdheach, who was the relict of Eiachadh ; his second con- 
sort was Boigneach, by whom he had seven sons, wbo are known 
in history by these names, Laoghaire, Eane, Maine, Eogan, two 
had the name of Con all and Cairbry. 

This prince, at the request of the Dailriads, in Scotland, who 
were harassed and oppressed by the savage Picts, transported a, 
numerous army into that kingdom to assist them. When he 
arrived he changed the old name of the country, and called it 
Scotia, at the request of the Dailriads and the Scots themselves,, 
but it was upon condition that Scotland was to receive the hon- 
our of that appellation; tor it was agreed that it should be 
called only Scotiir. Minor, but Scotia Major was to be the name 
of Ireland. The occasion of this name was in honour and me- 
mory of the ladv Scota, the daughter of Pharaoh Nectonebas, 
king of Egypt, who was queen to the famous Gollamh, otherwi^se 
called Milesius, king of Spain ; from this monarch the Dailriads 
t^escended, and therefore they made choice that ^he island should 
be called by the name of Scotia Major, rather than Hibernia, 
or any other appellation. The authority of the learned Camden 
might be insisted upon in confirmation of this account^ for he 
asserts, in his ohronicl of Britain, that Scotland was called 
Scotia Minor, and Ireland Scotia Major ; and declares that there 
is no certain evidence upon record to prove that the inhabitants 
of Scotland were known by the name of Scots^ before the time 
that Constantino the Great was emperor of Rome. 

This judicious antiquary very justly calls the Irish Scotoruiu 

308 Tfin- GENERAL ni^TORY 

Atavi, -'the ancestors ot the iScots," as aa argument that tha 
people of Scotland were originally derived from the ancient 
Irish ; and the same author proceeds upon the same subject, 
and has this expression* "The '^^ cots came from Spam, an^i 
arrived in Ireland in the Jourth age." To contirm the testimony 
of this writer, Nemius, a Welsh author of great credit, agrees 
with this opinion, which is so consistent with the Irish history, 
that it cannot be denied. 

It is evident, from the ancient records of the island, that the 
country of Scotland was known by the name o. Albain, till the 
reign of Niall, distinguished by the title of the nine hostages ; 
and. as the tribe of the Dailriada prevailed that the country 
should be called for the future by the name cf Scotia, so they and 
their posterity continued there, and enjoyed large tdrritories for 
many ages. The kingdom of Scotland was styled Albania, from 
Aibanactus, th^ third son of Brutus, to whom the country was 
assigned by bt, when the father was making provision for his 
children. This prince, Brutus, as JeofFi-y of Monmouth re- 
lates,, had three sous, and their names were Leagrus, Ca nber, 
and Albanactus, to whom he gave proper settlements : tugland 
he bestowed upon Leagrus, which after his name was called 
Lagria ; the territory of Wales he conferred upon his son Cam- 
ber, called alter him Cambria; the country of Scotland fell oo 
the share of Albanactus, from whom it ;>btamed the name of 
Albania, and continues to be so called to this day. 

Nial the Irish monarch, upon some provocation., carried with 
him a great army from Scotland into Lagria, or England ; and 
from thence transported it in a numerous fleet into Armorica, 
now called Bretagne, in the kingdom of France. These troops 
made great devastations in the country, for they met with little 
op!)Osition ; and, after plundering the inhabitants, returned 
with rich spoils and valuable booty. But the most considerable 
paL't of their prey consisted of 200 children, descended from the 
most noble blood in the province, whom they brought home with 
tiiem, and among the rest was St. Patrick, a youth of about six- 
teen years of age ; his two sisters, whose names were Lupida and 
Jjarerca, were likewise carried into captivity, and the rest 0/ 
tiii number were of the first rank. 

Many are the authorities that might be urged to prove thai 
the kingdom of Ireland was called Scotia, and that the inhabi- 
tants were known by the name of Cineadh Scait. Among othei-s, 

* Scoti ex Hispaaia ia Hiberniain c][uarta ojt.ite voiyiMiit 


Jonas the abbot, speaking of St. Collum Cill, in his second chap- 
ter has this expression ;* " Columbanus, who is also called Col- 
umba, was born in Ireland, a country inhabited by the nation 
of the Scots." The venerable Bede, in the first chapter of tho 
history of England, asserts, that the Scots were the inhabitants 
of Ireland : t '■' Ireland is the original country of the Scots.'* 
And the same learned author, giving an account of the saints, 
speaks thus: I Saint Kilianus, and his two companions, came 
from Ireland, an island of the Scots." From the testimony of 
this faithful writer it appears, that the Irish were called Scots, 
or Cineadh Scuit, in the time of Bede, who flourished abuub 
Too years after the birth of Christ. 

Orosius, who lived much earlier, in the fourth century, agrees 
with the evidences before produced ; and, in the second chapter 
ot the first book, expresses himself thus : § "Ireland is inha- 
bited by the nation of the Scots." It is most certain, that tho 
island was called by the name of Scotia by most authors. Se-' 
rapius informs us, that *'the blessed St. Kilian descended ivoni 
the Scots j" his words are, beatus Kilianus Scotorum genere ; 
and near the same place he says,|| "Scotland, which is also called 
Ireland ;" so that this island was known by both names. Bub 
as the clearest testimony in this matter, the expression of Cap- 
gravius must not be omitted. This author, writing of St. Col- 
lum Cill, has these words :^ "The kingdom of Ireland was an- 
ciently called Scotland ; from whence came the people of tho 
Scots that inhabit Albany, which joins to a part of the greater 
Britain, and is now called Scotland." This evidence is sup- 
ported by Marianus, a Scottish author, in this manner ; he is 
writing of St. Kilian, and speaks thus :** "At this time that 
part of Britain, which borders upon the north of England, ia 
properly called Scotland j but venerable Bede does not ouly 

* Columbanus, qui Columba vocatur, in Hibernia ortus est, earn Scotonim. 
gens incolit. 

t Hibernia propria Scotorani patri est. 

I Sanctus Kilianus etduo socii ejus ab Hibernia Scotoru;-n insula venerur.t. 
§ Hibernia Scotorum gentibus coiitor. 

II Scotia quae et Hibernia dicitur. 

^ Hibernia eniin aatiquitus Scotia dicta est, de qua gens Scotorum Albania 
Britanniae majori proxima, quie ab eventu modo Scotia dicitur, originem duxit 
et. progressuin habuit. 

*'^ Etiamsi hodie Scotia proprie vocatur ea Britanniie pars, qure ipsi Anglij© 
fontinens ad septemtrionalem vergit, dim tamen eo nomine Hiberiiiam noii tan- 
"uisse osteudit venerabilis Beda, cum ex Scotia 
venisse ait, ibique Scotorum gentem invenisse. 


prove that Ireland was formerly known, by that name, when he 
says, that the nation of the Picts came from Sootland into Ire- 
land, and there they found a nation of the Scots." 

This opinion, that Ireland was formerly distingnished by the 
name of Scotia, is yet confirmed by the authority of Caesarius, 
wi)o lived about 500 years after Christ ; the words of this writer 
follow :* '* Whoever doubts whether there be any such place as 
purgatory, let him go to Scotia, let him enter into the Purga- 
tory of St. Patrick, and he will no longer disbelieve the pains 
of purgatory." This expression may justly be depended upon 
to prove that Scotia was then the proper name of the island ; 
for there is no place to be found, in Scotland, that goes by the 
name of St. Patrick's Purgatory, and it is certain that thore ia 
Buch a place in Ireland, to be met with at this day. 

Ca3sarius,- speaking of St. Boniface, delivers his sentiments in 
this manner jt "Ireland was properly known by the name of 
Scotia, out of which island a colony of Scots removed, and set- 
tled themselves in the part of Britain that was possessed by the 
Picts. They were called Dailreudins originally, from Rheuda, 
their general, as the venerable Bede observes ; and they expel- 
led the Picts out of that country, and possessed themselves of 
all the northern coast, which they distingnished by the ancient 
name of their own nation. So that though the nation of the 
Scots was one, yet there were two countries known by the name 
of Scotia, the one the old Scotia, which is properly the king- 
dom of Ireland, the other the new, which is in north Britain." 
l^'rom the expression of this author, it is proper to observe, that 
he was persuaded that the Irish were the genuine Scots ; that 
the tribe of the Dailriads were the first called Scots, in Scot- 
land ; and that the ancient name of Ireland was Scotia Major j 
as Scotland was distinguished by the title of Scotia Minor, 
which naine was imposed upon that country by Cineadh Scuit. 

Buchanan, a Scottish author of some note, has a passage in 
the second book of his history of Scotland, agreeable to the 

■•■ Qui de purgatorio dubitat, Scotiam pergaf., Furga tori urn Saiicti Patricii 
intret, et de purgatorii poenis amplius non dubitabit. 

t llibeniia Scotia sibi nomen etiam vindicabit, qua taraen ex Hibernia ista 
Scotorum pars quaidam egresstt eat, in eaque liricannioe ora qiiani i-ictijara 
liabebant consederunt ; ii qui priacipio a duce sue Kheuda Dailrcudiiii dicti 
fuerunt, ut ait venerabilis Beda ; postea tamea Pictos inde ipsos exegeruut ; et 
boreale totum illud latus obtinueruiit, eique vetus gentes s\ic2. nomea indiderunt; 
ita ut Scotoruui gens una fuerit, sed Scotia duplex facta sit, una vetus et propria 
in Hibernia, receutior altera in septemtrionaii i3ritaiUiia 



0[)iiuon of tliG writer above meiitioiied. 
the itibabitauts of Ireland were originally called Scots, as Oro- 
sius testifies ; and our annals give an account, that the Scots of 
Ireland removed more than once in'to Scotland." From whence 
it is to be collected, that not only the Dailriads transported 
themselves from Ireland, into Scotland, but that more of the in- 
habitants left the island, and obtained settlements in Scotland. 
And this is agreeable to the ancient records of the kingdom, 
which purtic'ilarly mention several colonies, that from time, to 
time invaded the country, and by their valour and other me- 
thods made themselves masters of new possessions, which con- 
tinned in their families for many ages. 

The Irish chronic'es assert, that Aongus Ollmuchach, the soa 
of Fiachadh Labhraine, was sect into Scotland, by the king his 
master, to settle and collect the tribute that was imposed upon 
the Picts, as an acknowledgment of homage and submission to 
the crown of Ireiand ; and this happened about 250 years after 
the Milesians were in possession of the island. At a consider- 
able distance of time Rcachta Eighdhearg, king of Ireland, went 
into Scotland upon the same design, and imposed a tax upon 
the inhabitants. Cairbre liiada likewise transported a number 
of forces, and attempted to make a conquest of the eastern part 
of Scotland, from whom the Scottish Dailreudini, as the learned 
Bede observes, were lineally descended. JVlac Con also had great 
authority in the government of Scotland and Wales, and from 
thence he came into Ireland, to the battle of Magh Muchruime, 
where Art, the son of Conn, the hero of the hundred battles, 
was slain ; by which success Mac Con obtained the sovereignty 
and was the succeeding monarch of the island. Some time 
afterward Fatha Canain, the son of Mac Con, with a resolute 
body of troops, invaded the coasts of Scotland, and got posses- 
sion of large territories in the country. The posterity of tliis 
prince were the Mac Aliens and their descendants. Colla Uais, 
and his followers, transported themselves into Scotland, and by 
ttieir bravery and success obtained a settlement for their ia- 
milies , from this commander derived the noble and iliustrioua 
tribe of the Clan Donalls, in Scotland and Ireland. Criumh- 
than, the son of Fiachadh, the king of Ireland, made an inva- 
sion upon the Scottish dominions, as d^'d Earc, the son of Eoch-- 
aidh Munramhar, son of Aongus Firt, a prince descended from 

Scot' oranes Hibemige habitatores initio vocabantur, ut indicat Orosius ^ nee 
sexiioi "'cotoram ex Hibcruia transitum ia Aibaiiiani factum uostri auaales 


Cairbre Riada, whose posterity are distiuguished by the names 
of Clan Eire, and Cineal Gabhrain, in Scotland, and Cineal 
Lodhairn, Cineal Comhghaill, Cineal Naongusa, and Cineal 
Conchriche, in Nilii, with all the spreading branches of thosc 
ancient families. Maine Leamhna, the son of Core, son of 
Luighdheach, invaded the kingdom of Scotland, and succeeded 
so far in his design, that he made a conqaest of a large territory, 
which from him was called Mormor Leamhna, now the duke • 
dom of Len3x j and to this prince the noble family of the house 
of Lenox owe their original. Eoganach Moigh Geirgin de- 
scended from a brother of this Maine Leamhna, whose name 
was Cairbre Cruithniach. These two brothers, some time after 
the reign of Niall of the nine hostages, went into Scotland, and 
there settled themselves. After them the six son of Muireadh- 
ach, the son of Eogan, son of Neill, encouraged by the success 
of their countrymen, made an attempt, and got possessions in 
the country -, they were known by the names of the two Lo- 
dains, two Aongus's, and two Feargus's ! from whence it ap- 
pears that the principal of the Scottish families were originally 
d scended from the ancient Irish, to whom they owe the nobility 
of their blood, and the glory of their families. 

But it must be confessed, that the Scottish tribes that inhabit 
near the borders of England, have no pretence to a descent 
from the Irish ; because their ancestors were banished out of 
England by William the Conqueror; which may be easily col- 
lectei by the resemblance of manners and customs to be ob- 
served at this day between the borderers of both nations. 

Many other families likewic^, that have possessions in Scot- 
land, have no right to boast of an Irish extraction, being the 
posterity of the old English. In testimony of this, we iiave 
the authority of the laborious Stowe, who in his xlnnals gives 
this account : Henry 11. king of England, was engaged ina_wac 
wiLh the Scots, and took William, king of Scotland, prisoner, 
whom he ordered into custody, and to be close confined at 
Euan, in IN'ormandy, where he continued a captive till he was 
dismissed by paying a ransom of 400 pounds, afcer which botii 
kings made peace, and became friends. The king of Scotland, 
after his release, prepared to return into his own country ; and 
ddiormined, from a principle of gratitude, to take with him a 
number of English gentlemen, who had obliged him by many 
civilities in his restraint, and bestowed settlements upon them 
among his subjects. This he generously did, upon his return, 
and aupoiuted a large territory for the support of his EugUsli 

OF IRFLAN'T). 313 

attendants, and their heirs for ever, which estates are enjoyed 
hy some of tlieir posterity to this day. The names of the prin- 
cipal English, who followed the king into Scotland, are trans- 
mitted to us ; as, BalioU, Bruce, Eawly, Moubry, Sincl-nr, 
Hangiford, Ramsey, Barkley, Landell, Bisey, Wallegene, Royse, 
Montgomery, WiiUey, Colly, Milly, Fricer, Greme, Gar ley, unl 
many others. 

Buchanan, the Scottish author, agrees with this relation, iu 
the second book of his history of Scotland, where he has this 
expression :* " Since the natives of Ireland, and the colonies 
sent from thence into Scotland, were originally called Scots ; in 
order to distinguish between the Irish and these Scots, they 
began to call those transplanted Irish by the name of Albanian 
Scots." From the testimony of this historian we are to ob- 
serve, that the Scots, who inhabited Scotland, were originally 
natives of Ireland, and removed from thence to obtain new 
settlements ; and likewise, that the ancient Irish were originally 
known by the name of Scots. To confirm the opinion of this 
author, we have the concurring sentiments of the English an- 
nalist, the celebrated Stowe, which may be properly introduced 
in this place, before we treat particularly of the reign of Niall 
of the nine hostages ; because what we have to observe concern- 
ing that prince will receive an additional credit; by the autho- 
rity of this great antiquary; who has been ever esteemed a 
"writer of singular integrity and reputation. 

The learned Stowe gives an account, that m the year of 
Christ 73, one Marius was king of England, and that Rogerus, 
king of 'the Picts, invaded the British territories with a nume- 
rous army out of Scotia, a strong body of hardy Scots, who 
entered the country with fire and sword, and by continued hos- 
tilities and incursions mightily distressed the inhabitants. The 
king of England, with a number of choice forces, made head 
against the invaders, and gave them battle, wherein Rogerus 
and most of his army were slain. The victor used his success 
with moderation ; for such of the enemy as surrendered to his 
mercy, he spared, and assigned them a competency of lands in 
tlie east part of S<;otland, for their support. Here they settled, 
but having no women among them to perpetuate their families, 
they sent into Wales for a supply ; but they were denied, which 

* Principio cum utrique id est Iliberniae incolte et coloiii eormn in Albimn Scoti appcllarentiir, ut cliscriiniue aliquo alteri ab alteris clistiiiicacientur 
initio coepere alteri Scoti Albani vocaiv 


made tLom to address the Irish, who complied with their re- 
quest. So far we have followed the teatimoiij of Stowe, as a 
collateral evidence upon this occasion. It was observed before, 
that the general of the Pictish army transported women out of 
Ireland with him, in the time of lieremon, which was about 
300 years before Marias was king of England ; and this trans- 
action happened, as the same, author asserts, in the year of 
Ciirist wherein Vespasian Wcis elected emperor of Rome, which 
was ten years before the abbey of Glastonbury was built, and 
27 '2 years after the beginning of the Christian era, when. Au- 
reiian presided over the empire, and first attempted to adorn 
his head with an imperial crown. 

Pelao;iu3, a native of Wales, beojan first to broach his 
o:]~ heresy, at which time it was, that the emperor Aurelian 
selected a number of the Roman clergy, and sent them 
into Great Britain, to instruct the inhabitants, and settle the 
Catholic religion among them. When they arrived they found 
the Soots and the Picts plundering and harassing the country 
without opposition. TLie Britons, in this extremity, sent their 
deputies to Honorias, the emperor, and implored his assistance- : 
bat the emperor at that time could not spare any troops to de- 
fend their conquests at so great a distance, and therefore the 
Britons received no other answer, than that they must provide 
for themselves in the best manner they could, for they were not 
to expect any succours from Rome. By this' means the invaders 
brought the Britons under servitude, and cruelly fleeced the 
inhabitants, who were unable longer to bear the yoke, or to 
answer the exorbitant demands of the conquerors. Reduced to 
this distress, they again depute messengers, and send them to 
Rome, who succeeded so well in their negociations, that a legion 
was sent over with them ; but this assistance was too weak to 
repel the victorious Picts, who had considerably enlarged their 
conquests, and almost overrun the whole kingdom. The Ro- 
man legion, upon their arrival, made several attempts upon the 
enemy, but with small success, for they could not boast of any 
advantage over the invaders^ who fatigued them with continual 
skirmishes, and made tliem resolve to give over the attempt, 
and return to Rome ; but, before they left the country, they 
persuaded the Britons to raise a strong fortification upon the 
borders of Englancf, between them and their enemies, which 
would be a means to prevent the incursions of the Scots and 
Plots, and be a great security to the inhabitants. 

The Roman auxiliaries departed, and when they were gone. 

OF I UPLAND. 31.7 

the Britons^ perceiving themselves destituto o.l ijreign succours, 
thought proper to put in execution the advice ot fortifying their 
borders, and opposing the inroads of their neighbours ; accordingly 
they made a deep trench, and raised a high bank of sods, from 
s6a to sea ; but this defence proved ineffectual to restrain the 
attempts of their enemies, for when the Scots and Picts had iii- 
telligeuce that the Romans had left the island, they immedi- 
ately set upon the abandoned Britons, broke dov^n the partition 
of turf, and, by plundering and other cvuelties, brought great 
distress upon the inhabitants. These calamities were insup- 
portable, and therefore the Britons, unable to bear or to redress 
these misfortunes, were obliged to send their deputies to Rome 
a third time, and by representing the deplorable state of the 
country, to humbly supplicate for relief. The Romans thought 
themselves obliged to defend their allies, and therefore sent a 
foice over to their assistance. When they arrived, the Britons 
drew together their scattered forces, which, with the auxiliary 
legion, made a considerable army. With these troops they 
marched against the enemy, who, unable to bear the shock of 
the Roman courage, were obliged to fly with great loss, and 
were so dispirited with continual skirmishes and bad success, 
that they despaired of maintaining what they had acquired, 
and retired toward their own borders. Hither they were pur- 
sued by the victors, with great slaughter, and forced to retreat 
beyond the fortification erected by the Britons, and fly far into 
their own country to save their lives. 

The Romans, having thus delivered the Britons from the cruei 
tyranny of the Scots and Picts, resolved to return ; for they 
found it of small importance to undertake such long marches, 
and hazard their lives, when no rewards followed their victories, 
and their allies were in so low a condition, by the miseries of a, 
long war, that they were unable to make them suitable satis- 
faction. Under these discouragements they left the island, and 
i he distressed Britons, to the mercy of an enra^ged enemy, who 
soon had notice of their departure, and prepared themselves for 
another invasion. The Britons, apprehensive of their design, 
used their utmost diligence to repair the wail upon the borders, 
which they proposed to fortify with stronger materials than 
turf and dirt, and began to raise it with stone- work eight feet 
broad, and twelve feet high ; as the learned Bede pardcularly 
relates in the fifth chapter of his English history. 

By this time the Scots and Picts were ready for their attempt, 
aiid encouraged by the absence of the Romans, were certain of 


success ; for the enemies they were to engage with were broken* 
hearted, and accustomed to fly at tiie first attack. Accordingly 
they marched their forces, that were very numerous, towards 
the borders, and, making a wide breach in the partition-wall, 
they entered the country with dreadful hostilities, committing 
the most unheard-of outrages, and so dispirited the Britons, who 
dreaded their cruelty, that, without attempting to hinder their 
incursions, they were obliged, with their wives and families, to 
leave their habitations, and fly to the woods and wildernesses to 
preserve their lives. The invaders pursued them closely, resolv- 
ing to extirpate the whole race of them, and besieged them, 
within those inaccessible places, wherein they sheltered them- 
selves, insomuch that the Britons were constrained to feed upon 
wild beasts and the natural produce of the earth ; for if they 
attempted to peep out of their fastnesses, they were in danger 
of being taken by the Picts and Scots, who used them barb.i- 
rously, and put them to the most tormenting death. 

In these miserable extremities they continned for some time, 
till at last their indefatigable and sharp-sighted enemies had 
driven them into a corner of the country, with the sea be- 
hind them, and the victorious invaders in front. This dis- 
tressed condition obliged them to solicit mercy of the Romans 
once more ; and accordingly they found means to dispatcii a 
messenger, with a most supplicating letter, to Boetius, one of 
the consuls. This epistle most pitifully represented the cir- 
cumstances of their hard fate, how they were confined within a 
narrow compass, between the sea and the enemy ; so that, if 
they attempted to fly, they were sure of being drowned ; and if 
they stirred out of their camp, they fell into the hands of the 
besiegers, the most inhuman and relentless enemy of the two , 
concluding in the most submissive manner, and imploring tho 
assistance of the Romans against the Scots and Picts, who would 
unavoidably, in a short time, destroy the old Britons, and make 
themselves masters of the whole island. This transaction is 
particularly mentioned by the venerable Bede, in tho thirteenth 
chapter of his history of England, where he has preserved the 
very expression made use of in that epistle to the consul ; tiio 
words are these :'^ " The barbarians drive us back to the sea, 
the sea beats us again upon the barbarians ; so that between 
these two enemies we have two sorts of death betore us, we are 
either butchered or drowned." 

* Repellant barbari ad mare, rppellit mare ad barbaros, intt-r luec orluntur 
duo genera iiuiei'um, aat juguluiuiir aiit luergiuiiir. 

OF IllELAND. 317 

By the success of the Scots, in their invasions of the English, 
it appears that the Irish Scots, (as thej all originally were,; had 
the Britons in subjection, and made them tributaries. Non- 
nius, an ancient. British author, as Speed in his chronicle ob- 
serves, asserts that the Scots and Picts were victorious over tho 
Britons, who were a conquered people for the space of four hun- 
dred years ; and the learned Camden confirms this opinion, 
where he says ;* " Five hundred years after Csesar first entered 
the island, the kingdom of Britain was left abandoned to the 
Picts and Scots ;" which farther deserves our belief, because the 
judicious Bede, in the fourteenth chapter of the first book of 
the before -mentioned history, has this expression :t " The au- 
dacious Irish plunderers are returned home, designing after a 
short time to invade us again." From whence it is obvious to 
collect, that the Irish were professed enemies to the Britons, and 
made frequent invasions into their country ; for when the Ro- 
mans would not interpose in their quarrels, but withdrew their 
succours, they were sorely harassed by the Scots and Picts, who 
reduced them to the lowest misery, and exercised an insupport- 
able tyranny over them. 

But the continual inroads and barbarities of their enemies 
was not the only calamity that oppressed the Britons ; for about 
that time the Pelagian heresy gave them great uneasiness, which 
was propagated with great industry, and found kind reception 
among the populace. To stop the infection of these wicked 
principles, the Britons, unable to exercise any church disci- 
pline, by reason of their servitude, summoned a convention, and 
agreed in council to apply to the church of France, and desire 
they would send over some of their eminent prelates and divines 
to recover the people outi of this filthy heresy, and establish them 
in the orthodox faith. The Gallican church held a meeting 
upon this message ; and after some debates they resolved to 
dispatch two celebrated bishops, Germanus and Lupus, into 
Britain, to oppose the progress of the Pelagian doctrines. The 
prelates, when they arrived, applied themselves vigorously to the 
business they came about, and by the irresistible force of their 
arguments, and the piety of their lives, they so prevailed upon 
the afiections of the people, that they renounced the impious 
tenets of Pelagius, and were confirmed in the principles of the 
true religion. 

^' Anno oOO a Caesam ingressu Britannia, Pictorum immanitati relinquunti r, 
t Revertuntur iuipudentes grassatorei Hiberni doinum, poat non longmu 
teiiipu3 reversuru 


The Scots and PictSj we have observed, were continual 
.,r,' tliorn8 ill tiie sides of the Britons, and wars were waged 
betweea the two nations, until the reign of Vortigern, 
king of Britain, which was in the year of our Redemption 447. 
The inhabitants of Britain, at this time, were a very wicked 
people ; and heaven, for their impieties, delivered them uudei 
the power of the Scots and Picts, who were sore scourges in the 
hand of Providence/ aaid ruled them with a rod of iron ; inso- 
much, that the Britons were forced to send messengers to two 
Saxon princes, Hengist and Horsa, and desire their assistance. 
These foreigners landed in the island, attended with a numerous 
army, and in several engagements repelled the insolence of the 
Scots and Picts, and obliged them to give over their attempts, 
and to cease their hostilities. By the assistance of these Ger- 
man forces the Britons were freed from the incursions of their 
lieighbours, who kept within their own borders, and the king- 
dom was settled in peace, to the universal joy and satisfaction 
of the inhabitants. 

The indefatigable Stowe, in his British Chronicle, printed at 
London in the year 1614, at the fifty- second page, gives an ac- 
count, that these Germans or Saxons were so pleased with the 
air and the fertility of the island, that they barbarously mur- 
dered, at one massacre, 480 of the nobility and gentry of Bri- 
tain ; and that Aurelius Ambrosias, then king of Britain, caused 
the stones, that were brought by Merlin, from mount Clare, in 
the province of Munster, to be erected in the same place where 
the barbarous execution was committed, as an eternal monu- 
ment of the German cruelty upon the natives of Britain. Soma 
time afterwards Aurelius himself was buried in the same place ; 
and the same author observes, that these stones, when they wer& 
hxed, were called Chorea Gigantum, but now are known by the 
name of Stone Henge, upon Salisbury plain. Tnat historian 
asserts farther, that the Irish brought these stones with them 
from Africa, and what Geoffry of Monmouth observes is very 
remarkable, that not two of those stones, came originally out of 
the same part of that country. 

From the testimony of this English historian it is easy to be- 
lieve, that the Irish fleets were accustomed to sail to Africa, 
that they made voyages abroad with honour and success, and 
obtained considerable authority in other countries beside their 
own ; and whoever disputes the grandeur and great character of 
the ancient Irish, betrays his ignorance of antiquity, aud con- 
lescics that he never cou^^ersei! with old records, which are tiia 


foutii^lii from wlienco an historian is to draw out his observa- 
tions. Some persons would willingly be acquainted with the 
celebrated transactions of past ages, without the trouble of read- 
ing and study; for which reason they are mere pedants, and take 
up with superficial relations, without searching into the original 
or kingdoms, or turning over the old chronicles, that preserve 
the memory of those renowned times. It is the observation of 
Macrobius, in the sixth book of his Saturnalia^ ;^? "We are ignorant 
of many things with which we might be acquainted, would we 
make the reading of the ancient annals familiar to us." And 
this remark is in no instance more exactly verified than with 
relation to the Irish history. 

For when we assert that the kingdom of Britain was formerly 
tributary to the Scots and Picts ; if the integrity of our rela- 
tion be suspected, we can immediately refer to the testimony of 
the learned Camden, who, in his chronicle, has this expression :f 
" In the year 476 the Britons became tributary to the Scots 
and Picts." And when we say that the Picts were afterwards 
overpowered and suppi'essed by the Scots, we have liberty to 
call in the evidence oi the same writer, who informs us, that 
about the year 850, or, as others suppose, 83:9, when Cionaoth, 
the son of Alpin, was king of Scotland, the Picts were brought 
in subjection to the Scots. If the credit of this history should 
be questioned, because we insist that no other foreign powers 
possessed the sovereignty of the kingdom of Ireland, but those 
princes we have taken notice of, and whose succession we have 
accounted for, such as Partholanus, Clana Neimidh, Firbolg, the 
Tuatha de Danans, and the Milesians, we have authority to 
justify our relation, by citing the testimony of a reputable au- 
thor, Gulielmus Nubirgensis, who says expressly in the twenty- 
sixth chapter of his second book, J " The kingdom of Ireland 
never submitted to a foreign power." And lastly, if we trans- 
mit to posterity some remarkable exploits of Niall, the hero of 
the nine hostages, that were scarce ever heard of before, espe 
cially in the latter ages, we declare that we abhor to impose 
upon the world with fictions of romantic adventures ; but our 
authorities are the most valuable ancient records of the king- 
dom, which we peruse -with great caution and industry, and 
from thence extract our materials, and are directed in our method 
and the management of the subject before us. 

* Malta igaoraraus quae non laterent, si veterum lectio nobis esset fainUiaris. 
f Britanni facti sunt tributarii Scotis et Pictis, anno 471). 
j Hiberuia nunquam externce subjeeit ditioni. 


There is an old manuscript in vellum, excoelin^ curious, en- 
titled the life of St. Patrick, which treats likewise of the lives 
of Muchuda Albain and other saints, from whence I shall tran- 
scribe a citation that relates to St. Patrick, and particularly 
mentions that he was of Welsh extraction ;* " Patrick was a 
Biiton born, and descended from religious parents." And in 
the same place he has the following remark :f " The Irish Scots, 
under Niall their king, wasted and destroyed many provinces 
of Britain, in opposition to the power of the Romans. They 
attempted to possess themselves of the northern part of Britain ; 
and, at length, having driven out the old inhabitants, those Irish 
seized upon the country, and settled in it." The same author, 
upon this occasion, remarks, that from thenceforth Great Bri- 
tain was divided into three kingdoms, that were distinguishjd 
by the names of Scotia, Anglia, and Britia. 

This ancient writer likewise asserts, that when Niall, the hero 
of the nine hostages, undertook the expedition of settling the 
tribe of the Dailriada in Scotland, the Irish fleet sailecW to the 
place where St. Patrick resided 4 " At this time the fcet out 
of Ireland plundered the country in which St. Patrick then lived, 
and, according to the custom of the Irish, many captives were 
carried away from thence, among whom was St. Patrick, in the 
sixteenth year of his age, and his two sisters, Lupida and Da- 
rerca ; and St. Patrick was led captive into Ireland in the ninth 
year of the reign of Niall, king of Ireland, who was the mighty 
monarch of the kingdom for twenty-seven years, and brought 
away spoils out of England, Britain and France." By this ex- 
pression it is to be supposed that Niall of the nine hostages 
waged war against Britain, or Wales, and perhaps made a con- 
quest of the country ; and it is more than probable that when 
this Irish prince had finished his design upon the kingdom of 
Wales, he carried his arms into France, and invaded the comi" 
try, at that time called Armorica, but now Little Britann}', and 
from thence he led St. Patrick and his two sisters into captivity. 

* Patricias Brito natus, ex pareutibus religiosis ortus. 

t Scoti de Hibernia sub rege suo Niall, diver^as provincias Britannige contia 
Romanura imperium multum devastabunt, contendere incipientes aquiloualein 
Britannise plagam, tandem, ejectis veteribus colonis, ipsi ilibernienses earn occu- 
pavei'unt et habitaverunt. 

J Hoc tempore quajdaiu classis Hibernica depredavit patriam, in qua mora- 
batur Divus Patricias, et consaeto Hibernoruiu more, muiti inde captivi ducti 
sunt, iutei quis erant Divus Patricias, setatis suae anno decimo texto, et duse ejus 
sorores, Lupida et Darerca, et ductus est Divus Patricius in Hibeiuiam captivus, 
anno none Niall, regis Hibeniiie, qui potenter 27 annis reguavit, ac Britanuiam, 
et Angliam, et Galliain devastavit. 


And this T am ratlier included to believe, because the mother 
of St. Patrick was the sister of Martin, the bishop of Turin, in 
France ; and I have read in an ancient Irish manuscript, whose 
authority I cannot dispute, that St. Patrick and his two sisters 
were brought captiv^ into Ireland, from Armorica, or Britanny, 
in the kingdom of France. It is evident likewise, that when 
Niall, the king of Ireland, had subdued the Britons, he dis- 
I)atched a formidable fleet to plunder the coasts of France, and 
had so great success, that he carried away numbers of the na- 
tives with him into captivity, one of which, it is reasonable to 
suppose, was the young Patrick, who was afterwards distin- 
guished by the name of the Irish saint. 

Niall, encouraged by the number of his captives, and the suc- 
cess of his arms in France, resolved upon another expedition ; 
and accordingly raised a gallant army of his Irish subjects for 
that purpose, and sent a commission to the general of the Dail- 
riada in Scotland, to follow him with his choicest troops, and 
assist him in the in/asion. Niall, having prepared a sufficient 
number of transports, and a competency of provision, weighed 
anchor with his victorious Irish, and, steering his course directly 
to France, had the advantage of a prosperous gale, and in a few 
days landed upon the coasts : he immediately began to spoil and 
ravage the country near the river Loire ; here it was that the 
general of the Dailriada found him, and both armies being 
joined, they committed dreadful hostilities, which obliged the 
inhabitants to fly, and leave the country to the mercy oi the 

The commanding officer of the Dailriada, in this expedition, 
was Gabhran, the son of Domhanguirt, who brought over with 
him Eochaidh, the son of Eana Cinsalach, king of Leinster. 
This young prince had been formerly banished into Scotland by 
Niall, but resolving to be revenged, when opportunity offered, 
he desired to be admitted as a volunteer in the service, and by 
that means was transported into France. The king of Ireland 
being informed of his arrival, would on no account permit a 
visit from him, nor sufl'er him in his presence, but Eochaidh 
Eoon found an opportunity to execute his design, for one day 
perceiving the king sitting upon the bank of the Loire, he con- 
veyed himself secretly into an opposite grove, on the other side, 
and shot Niall through the body with an arrow ; the wound 
was mortal, and he instantly expired. 

The difference between the king of Ireland, and Eochaidh, the 
prince oi Leinster, arose upon this occasion : the ambitio?i of 

822 Tn-: GrxERAL history 

EoolinKl^ incited him to keep his residence at Tara, as monarch 
of the island, in express opposition to the command of thekinsr, 
and accordingly, by way of to.king possession, he abode there 
nine days and nights. This attempt of his was censured by a 
druid of principal note, who informed him, that by this practice 
he had violated the ancient and solemn customs of Tara, which 
enjoined, that no person should presume to keep his court ia 
that royal palace, before he was admitted into the order of 
knighthood. This intelligence had that effect, that Eochaidh 
withdrew from Tara, and relinquished his pretensions to the 
crown of Ireland. When he was gone, Niall removed thither, 
and kept his court as the king of Ireland ; and, lest Eochaidh 
should again renew his claim to the crown, after many skir- 
mishes and sharp disputes, he was banished into Scotland. 

The king of Ireland received another provocation from Eoch- 
aidh, which incensed his resentment, and in some measure oc- 
casioned his banishment ; for when Eochaidh had abandoned 
the royal seat of Tara, and was upon his way towards his owa 
province, he came to the house of Laidhgin, the son of Bair- 
ceadha, a principal druid, who was in great favour with the 
king of Ireland. While he continued there the son of this 
druid had the imprudence to threw out some contemptuous ex- 
pressions against Eochaidh, which he so resented, that he fell 
upon him, and killed him on the spot. This action so enraged 
the father, that he instantly applied himself to Kiall for satis- 
faction, and, representing the fact in the most aggravi^ting cir- 
cumstances, prevailed upon the king, who promised tc revenge 
the death of his son upon the prince and people of Leinster. 

Niall, with aU expedition, prepared an army to invade the 
province, which he entered with fire and sword, and miserably 
distressed the inhabitants. The druid followed the army into 
Leiuster, and perceiving the miseries the innocent people suf- 
fered by this dreadful invasion, he took pity on their misfor- 
tunes, and told them, that the king's forces should commit no 
further disorders, if they would deliver Eochaidh, who was tha 
only criminal, into his hands. The inhabitants, reduced to the 
last extremities, accepted of this expedieni}»; and, though with 
great reluctance, seized upon the prince, and surrendered hioi 
into the power oi his enraged enemy. 

The druid, full of revenge, designed to execute his pi'isonerby 
a lingering death, and therefore caused his body to be chained 
to a great stone, that stood upright, and is now to be seen on 
the west side of Slainv, between Cill Brighde and Tallach 

OF in.i';LA>]D, 323 

O'Feidhlin. The unfortunate prince was obliged to stand with 
his back towards the stone ; and when he had remained there 
for some time, loaded and galled with the weight of the chain, 
the druid resolved to dispatch him, and put an end to his life ; 
he therefore commanded nine soldiers to set upon him, for 
Eochaidh was a person of great strength and invincible bravery, 
and he supposed would not fall without resistance. The prince, 
perceiving the executioners advanced towards him, summoned 
all his courage, and forcing the chain with more than mortal 
strength, unrivetted the pin which fastened the -ends of the 
chain, and obtained his liberty. Unarmed as he was, he fell 
upon the soldiers, and twieting their weapons out of their hands, 
he killed some of them, and, making good his retreat with 
safety, found means to escape into Scotland. When he arrived, 
he requested the protection of Gabhran, the son of Domhanguirt, 
the general of the Dailriada, with whom he came into France, 
and slew Niall, who was the occasion of all his misfortunes. 

When this prince Eochaidh was in exile'in Scotland, it hap- 
pened that his wife, whose name was Feidhlin, the daughter of 
Cobhthain, son of Dathi, was with child ; and at the same time 
the wife of Gabhran, the son of Domhanguirt, whose name was 
Ingeanach, was likewise with child j and both ladies, it seems, 
were equally near their travail, for they were both seized with 
pains, and delivered on the same night. For convenience, and 
by reason of the friendship that was between them, the two 
princesses lodged in the same apartment ; there were no persons 
admitted .in the room but the midwife, all the other attendants 
being commanded to stay v^ithout the door till they were called. 
The Irish princess was delivered of two sons, and the Scottish 
lady, who had borne many children, but all females, and who 
passionat?ely desired a son, the more to please and engage the 
affections of her husband, was delivered of a daughter. There- 
fore when she understood, that the oLher lady was delivered of 
two sons, she desired that she would part with one of them to 
her ; the Irish princess consented, and her friend received the 
infant into her bed with the greatest transport and satisfaction. 

The artifice was concealed from the attendants, who, upon 
their admission into the room, perceiving that the Scottish lady 
had a son, instantly carried the joyful news to the father, who 
caressed the infant with the fondest endearments, and called him 
by the name of Eogan, not suspecting the fraud, but supposing 
it to be his own. He likewise complimented the Irish lady 
upon the birth of her young prince, who was known by the 
name of Raudubh, son of Eochaidh. 


After the death of Niall, the hero of the nine hostages, 
Eochaidh returned into Ireland, and sent for his lady and his 
Bon from Scotland. He took possession of the government of 
Leinster, and was king of that province for many years. His 
friend Gabhran, the general of the Dailriadas, obtained the so- 
vereignty of Scotland, and settled the succession upon his sup- 
posed son. 

Eogan, the young prince, after the death of Gabhran, laid 
claim to the kingdom of Scotland by hereditary right, and was 
crowned without opposition ; and when he had settled the state 
of his affairs, he prepared a number of shipping, and a gallant 
army, to invade Ireland ; for he justified his pretensions to the 
kingdom, as he was a lineal descendant from Cairbre Riada. 
His forces consisted of English, Welsh, and Scots. When ha 
lande"d upon the Irish coast, he began hostilities upon the pro- 
vince of Leinster. llandubh being unable, with the strength 
of his provincial troops, to oppose the invaders, was forced to 
see his subjects pillaged, and consult his own safety. Hi3 
mother lived with him at that time, who, lamenting the dis- 
tressed circumstances of her son, advised him p.ot to sink under 
his misfortunes ; for she would go in person to the king of 
Scotland, and by stratagem was confident she could put a stop 
to his spoiling of the country, and persuade him to retire out 
of the province. This motion came very seasonably, for the king 
of Scotland had then sent to the king of Leinster, to demand a 
heavy tribute from him, and, if refused, he threatened him with 
military execution, and the utmost miseries of fire and sword. 

The good old lady, as she promised, set out for the Scottish 
camp, and when she arrived demanded audience of the king ; 
Eogan was surprised at the adventure, and supposing ghe was 
distracted, he admitted her into his presence. She then boldly 
expostulated with him upon the subject of his invasion, and, 
representing the cruel depredations he had committed upon the 
province of Leinster, she demanded with intrepid bravery, what 
provoked him to so barbarous and unwarrantable an undertak- 
ing. The king, enraged- at this question, replied, that he was 
not obliged to answer the impudence of every old hag that 
should ask him questions, and commanded her to make -the best 
of h^r way out of the camp. The lady, not discouraged at this 
reply, told him, that his mother was as much a hag as she, and 
if he pleased to give her liberty of speaking with him in pri- 
vate, she engaged to convince him, and inform him of a seCiCfc 
that was of the last importance to his interest. The king com- 
plied, and taking her asiie from his attendants, was impatient 

OF IRr':LA^^). 355 

to hear this weighty discovery. Sir, said she, I told you that 
your own mother was such a hag as myseh, which is literally 
true ; for I am your own mother, and Randubh, the king of 
Leinster, whom you seem resolved to drive out of his country, 
is your own- brother ; and to evince my honour and veracity 
upon this occasion, I beseech you to send instantly to your sup- 
posed mother, the queen dowager of Scotland, who, I am con- 
fident, will assert the truth, and confess that you are my son ; 
only let me entreat you to cease hostilities and outrages upon 
the province until the messenger returns. The king was asto- 
nished at this relation, and thought it of such importance, that 
he instantly dispatched a messenger into Scotland to his mother, 
and desired she would come to him into IreLind with all possi- 
ble haste ; for her presence was of absolute necessity, and con- 
cerned him in the most tender circumstances of his wliole life. 
She complied with the request of her son, and, landing in Ire- 
land, was conducted to the camp. The king of Scotland ac- 
quainted her with his message, and the surprising account he 
bad heard from the queen of Leinster, and desired that she 
would satisfy him in the truth of the discovery, and declare 
upon her honour whether he was her son or not. The old lady 
openly confessed the whole intrigue between her and the quesn 
of Leinster, and convinced the king in the point of his birth, 
who desired they would keep the matter secret, lest his right to 
the crown should be disputed, and an attempt made to prevent 
the succession of his family in the throne of Scotland. For it 
the tribe of the Dailriadas should be informed that he was not 
the son of the deceased king, they would dispute his title, and 
disturb his government. The ladies bound themselves to se- 
crecy, a peace was immediately made, and a strict friendship 
established with Randubh, the pi'ince of Leinster, and Eogau 
withdrew his forces from the island, and returned to Scotland. 
Niall, the king of L'eland, had eight sons, who left a nume- 
rous posterity behind them, from which some noble families in 
the country claim an extraction at this day ; but it will be im- 
proper, in this place, to speak particularly of their offspring and 
descendants, because they will be mentioned with more method, 
when we treat ol the genealogies and spreading branches ol the 
Milesians, or the Clana Mileadh. The reason why this prince 
was distinguished by the title of hero ol the nine hostages, 
and is called in the Irish language Niall Naoighialiach, was be- 
cause he had nine hostages in his custody, live from the provinces 



of Ireland, and four from the kingdom of Scotland, in order to 
secure the fidelity ot his enemies in both countries, who he sus- 
pected would offer to raise commotions, and disturb the peace 
ol his reign ; for the word Niall in the Irish, signifies in Eng- 
lish, a prisoner or hostage. This transaction is upon record, in 
the verses oi an ancient poet, who mentions it in this manner : 

Niall, the martial hero of the Iridh, 

The son of the reno^vned Eochaidh, 

By force of arms, and military skill, 

Subdued the rebels who opposed his right ; 

And, as a plege of theu' allegiance, 

Detain'd nve hostages of noble blood ; 

And, to secure the homage of the Scots, 

He kept confin'd four hostages of note : 

From whence this prince, the ancient records call, 

The Hero of the Nine Hostages. 

Dathy was the succeeding m.onarch. He was the son 
^'^ of Fiachradh, son of Eochaidh Moighmeodhin, son of 
Muireadhach Tireach, descended from the royal line of 
Heremon, and he governed the kingdom twenty-three years. 
His first consort was Fial, the daughter of Eachach, from whom 
Feile Cruachan obtained its name. His second queen was 
Eithne, the daughter of Orach, by whom he had a son called 
OiiioU Molt : his third wife was Ruadh, the daughter of Artigh 
Uchelathan, the son of Fir Conga, and this lady was mother of 
Fiachadh Ealgaigh, but unfortunately died in triivail. From 
Dathy, king of Ireland, descended the noble families of the 
O'Sheagnasy, king of Vibhfhiachrach, O'Dowd, in the Irish 
O'Dubhda, O'Heyn, kings of Aidne, Kilkelly, in the Irisli 
Giol!achealaigh, O'Cearaigh, O'Comain, O'Clierigh, O'Fahy, and 
many illustrious tribes that will be particularly inserted in the 
course of this history. This monarch was distinguished by the 
name of Dathy, because of his wonderful sprightliness and ac- 
tivity of body ; for he was so accomplished, that he handled 
bis weapons dexterously, and put on his armour before he was 
at the estate of a man ; for the word Dathy signifies nimbleness 
and agility. This prince received his death by a thunderbolt, 
as he was pursuing his conquests in the dominions of France, 
where he had carried his arms with great success. He died 
near the foot of the Alps, from whence his army carried his 
body with them into Ireland, and interred it with great so- 
lemnity at Roilicna Riogh, in Cruachan, after he had governed 
the island twenty-three years. 


Giving an account of tHe most memorable transactions of the ancient Jrisli, from 
their reception of Christianity to the invitation of the English in the reiga ot 
Henry II., king of England. 

Having deduced the General History of Ireland from the first 
inhabitants of the kingdom to the death of NialL the hero of the 
nine hostages, in wnose reigo St Patrick was Drought into the 
island, we are now to prosecute the account of this nation, till 
the English were introduced by King Henry ll., who went into 
the island m person, and, upon the submission of the nobility 
and principal gentry, confirmed the inhabitants in their estates 
and ancient liberties. 

There is an author, one Sanders whose legendary writings 
have ever been rejected by the lovers of truth, that has the con- 
fidence to assert, in his first book of the English wars, that as 
soon as the Irish had received the Christian faith, they submit- 
ted themselves, their consciences, 'iud estates^ to the management 
and direction of the Pope of Rome, and that they acknovrledged 
no other sovereign prince in that kingdom bu^ the Roman Pon- 
tiff, from the first establishmeni of Christianity in the island, 
till it fell into the hands ol the Pjnglish, under King Henry II. 
His expression is this.* "The inhabitants of Ireland imme- 
diately upon embracing the Cnristian faith, surrendered them- 
selves, their estates, and fortunes^ under the dominion of the 
Pope of Rome, nor did they own any other supreme prince, in 
that kingdom, besides the Roman Pontiff, down to that time.'* 
But the falsehood of this assertion is evident from the testi- 
mony of tiiat ancient record, the Psalter of Cashel, which, speak- 

* ITibcrnia initio statim post religion em acoeptam, se suaque omnia in Ponti- 
fices Romani ditionem dederunt, nee quemque altum su{)remum pnncipcm 
Hiborniie ad illud iisque teinpuo preter unum Pontiliceni agnovenmt. 


ing of the prophet Trial, a renowned mouavch of Ireland, and a 
sou to Heremon, relates that many of that illustrious line filled 
the throne, both before and for many ages after Christianity was 
received in that kingdom. His words upon this occasion are 
these : * " Irial the prophet reigned ten years, and before the 
faith of Christ was propagated in Ireland by St. Patrick, there 
were fifty-seven kings of iiis race, who governed that kingdom, 
and after the time of St. Patrick, there were fifty kings in succes- 
sion of the same family." And his account is consistent with the 
ancient records of the kingdom, which take no notice of sub- 
jection to the see of Eome, but mention in the regal tables a 
succession of princes of the royal Irish blood, and that the island 
was governed independently by its own kings. 

The author of the Polichronicon agrees with the preceding 
account ; the words are,t " From the arrival of Saint Patrick 
to the time of Feidhlim, there were thirty- three kings, who go- 
verned the kingdom for 400 years ; in the reign of this prince, 
the l^orwegians made a conquest of the country, under Tur- 
gesius, their general." Feidhlim was king of Munster in whose 
time the king of Norway transported a body ol hardy troops, 
and brought the island into great troubles ; and from this cita^ 
tiou it appears, that the Pope had not the sovereignty of the 
kingdom, but that it was governed successively by many mo- 
narchs of the Milesian race, after the time of St. Patrick, till 
the invasion of the Norwegians, who are otherwise called Fionn- 
lochlannuig. The same author has this expression in the same 
place : J " From the time of Turgesius to the reign of Hoderick, 
the last monarch in Conacht, there were seventeen kings on the 
throne of Ireland." From these testimonies it is evident, that 
the Eoman Pontiff had not the supreme authority in the island, 
from the time of St. Patrick till the English arrived, under 
Henry II., and settled in the country. 

This account is farther confirmed by the testimony of Anselm, 
archbishop of Canterbury, who inscribes his thirty-sixth epistle,§ 

* Irial proplieta per decern annos regnavit, et antequam regula Christi per 
Patricium seniinata esset in HiberPxia, de riemine ejusdem regis quinqnaginta sep- 
teni reges reguavenint super Hiberniafti. et post Fatrlciuni de prole ipsius quiii- 
quaginta reges. 

t Ab adventu Sancti Patricii usque ad Feidlilimidii regis tempora, triginta 
ires reges per quadringeutos amios in Hiberaia regriaverunt : tempore autesii 
Feidhliiuidii Norvecienses duce Turgesio terram banc occuparunt. 

X A tempore Turgesii usque ad ultimum moaarchum, Rodoricum, ConaciJJ 
regem, decern et septeai reges ia Hiberaia regaaveriiat. 

§ Moriardacho glorioso, gratia Dei, rcgi Hibernian. 


*• To the illustrious Moriartach, or Mortough O'Bryen, by th3 
grace of God, king of Ireland." Tiiis epistle is to be found ia 
the works of archbishop Usher, that learned prelate, who has, 
with indefatigable pains, collected the epistles that were sent 
between England and Ireland, and other great persons of both 
nations, and preserved them to posterity. The same archbishop 
Anselm wrote another letter to the same prince, and calls him 
expressly the renowned king of Ireland ; and archbishop Lan- 
franc, one of his successors in the see of Canterbury, wrote a 
letter to Terlagh O'Bryen, king of Ireland, in the year 1074, and 
introduces it in this form :* " Lanfranc, a sinner, and the un- 
worthy archbishop of the holy church of Canterbury, to the 
most magnificent Terlagh, king of Ireland, our benediction with 
our service and prayers." I'he learned Usher, in the same 
book, has preserved an epistle of great importance upon this 
eubject, wherein Henry I., king of England, wrote to Rodol- 
phus, archbishop of Canterbury, recommending to him, for holy 
orders, one Gregory, that upon admission into the priesthood 
he might be consecrated, at the request of the king of Ireland, 
to the bishopric of Dublin. This epistle was written in the 
year llf^, wherein is this expression :t "The king of. Ireland 
has given me to understand, that by his writ, and by the consent 
of the burghers of Dublin, this Gregory is chosen to be a bishop, 
and they send him to you to be consecrated ; my will therefore 
is, that you satisfy their desire by consecrating him without 

From what has been before said upon this subject, and from 
the concurring testimony of so many authorities, it appears 
that the kingdom of Ireland was governed by monarchs of the 
Milesian line, till the English invaded and settled in the coun- 
try ; and it is likewise evident, that the l^oman Pontiff had no 
right of sovereignty, nor exercised any jurisdiction in the island, 
from the time of St. Patrick, than what he administered and 
laid claim to in other nations, not only in Erance and Spain, 
but in most oi' the countnes of Christendom, which were go- 

* Lanfrancus peccator, et indlgnus sanctae Dorovernensis, ecclesia^ archicpis- 
copiis, magaifico regi Hiberuise Terdeluaco benedictionem cum servitio et oia- 

t Mandavit miM rey Ilibcrniaj per breve suum et burgenses Dubliniifi, quod 
elegerunt hunc Gregorium in episcopum, et earn mittunt tibi consecrandum : 
unde tibi mando ut petitionem eorum satisfacieuj ejus consecrationem sine dila- 
tione ira pleas. 


vei'iied by their owa kings, and paid no liomago to the see of 
liome as to a temporal prince. 

It must be confessed, notwithstanding, that about seventy- 
seven yenvs before tiie English invitation, Donough, the son of i 
Brjen Boiroimhe, undertook a journey to Rome, and had a com- 
mission from the principal nobility and gentry of the island, to 
offer themselves as subjects to the see of Rome, and implore, the 
protection ot the Roman Pontiff: and the reason of this act of 
submission was, because the petty princes of the island word 
continually quarrelling about the bounds of their territories ; 
and these contests had so harassed and impoverished the island, 
that the inhabitants chose rather to submit themselves to a fo- ; 
reign power, than to be subject to the tyranny and oppression 
of their own kings. And what seemed to induce the people to 
offer their submission to the see of Rome was, that the Pontiff 
was not only a spiritual, but a temporal prince, of great interest 
and authority throughout Christendom, and able, by his assist- 
ance or mediation in the courts of foreign prii^ss, to establish 
the peace, and secure the liberties and privileges of the country. 
P>ut this surrender of the island into the hands of the Pope, is 
no evidence to confirm what is asserted by some autftors, who 
relate that the emperor Constantine, upon his receiving the 
Christian faith, conferred the western isle of Europe, which is 
Ireland, upon Pope Sylvester ; which is impossible to be true,, 
for this reason, because this island was never conquered by the 
Romans, nor in the possession of Constantine, or any other j 
emperor of Rome ; and therefore it would be ridiculous in that 
emperor, or any other, to make a grant of an island to a prince,; 
which he had no right to himself and was never under his aiz.* 
thority. Nor can it be supposed with reason, that an island so 
fruitful, so populous, so wealthy, and of so considerable -au ex^ 
tent as the country of Ireland, should be without a king to com- 
maud it for so many ages, but be governed by the Pope, and by' 
his deputies, from the time of Si. Patrick till the invasion by 
the English, wiio subdued it, and made it a tributary province ; 
but we have been too long in refuting the falsehood of Sanders, 
an author of no credit, though it was proper to remove this ob- 
jection before we proceeded farther in the course of this history. 
Laogaire was the succeeding monarch. He was tha 

,U' son of Niall, the hero of the nine hostages, and wore tho 

crown thirty years ; the mother of this Irish king was 

lioigheach. In the fourth year of this prince's reign, Pope 

Celestine commissioned St. Patrick with proper powers, and 


sent him into Ireland to propagate the Christian faith, and to 
establish the inhabitants in the beliei of the Gospel. It waa 
observed before, that St. Patrick was brought a captive from 
France into Ireland by Niall, in the ninth year of his reign, and 
that this saint was then a youth of sixteen years of age. Niall, 
after his victories-in France, ant^his return home with his cap- 
tives, enjoyed the crown eighteen years : Dathy, as we said be- 
fore, was his successor, and he reigned twenty -three years. No^r 
by adding the eighteen years of Niall, after St. Patrick arrived 
in Ireland,-to the whole reign of Dath}^, we come to the numBer 
oi forty-one years ; with which, if we reckon sixteen years, that 
was the age oi the saint when he was carried into captivity, and 
join to them four years of the reign of Laogaire. it is evident, 
that St. Patrick was sixty-one years of age wuen Pope Gelestine 
sent him into Ireland to convert the country, and introduce 
Christianity among the inhabitants. 

And to confirm this computation, we have, as evidence, the 
concurring testimony of a book, entitled, " Marty rologium," 
which asserts, that St. Patrick was 122 years of age when he 
died ; which proves that his age was sixty-one years when he 
arrived in Ireland to execute his commission, and preach the 
Gospel ; for H is beyond dispute, that he continued in the 
country sixw-one years, in converting the inhabitants, before 
his death. Bat St. Piitrick was not the first person deputed by 
Pope Gelestine to recommend the Ghristian faith to the Irisli, 
for Palladius, a bishop, was sent before him, in tlie year 430, as 
,the venerable Bede, in his English annals, particularly mentions; 
his expression is,^'' " Palladius was the first bishop that was sent 
by Pope Gelestine to the Ghristian Scots." The arrival of this 
prelate in the island, was in the third yes^r of the reign of Lao- 
gairfi, which was in the year preceding the landing of St. 
Patrick, as his successor, on the same important negociation. 

Palladius, in this expedition, was attended by t^^'slve clergy- 
men ; with them he arrived in Ireland, and landed in the north 
part ot the province of Leinster, at a place called Inbhec 
]3ijaghadh. Here he erected three churches, which he conse- 
crated,, and dedicated them to three eminent saints j the first 
was CLilled Gillfiune, where he deposited his books, and some 
valuable relics of the apostles St. Peter and St. Paul ; the se- 
cond was Teach na Ptomhauach j and the third had the name of 


* Anno quadringentesimo tricesimo Palladius ad Scotos in Christum credeutea 
a Celestino Papa primus miUitur upiscopus. 


Dorabnacb Arda. AVhen he had finished the solemnity of con- 
secration, and before he had an opportunity of making any 
number of proselytes among the inhabitants, he was seized by 
Nathi, the son of Garchon, a violent bigot for the old pagan 
religion, who had the principal command in that part of the 
country, and obliged Palladims and his followers to abandoa 
their design, and quit the island to preserve their lives. 

One year after the expulsion of Palladius, St. Patrick, not 
discouraged by the ill fortune of liis predecessor, came into Ire- 
land, and, resolving to prosecute his designs with vigour and 
Christian zeal, he brought over with him twentj^-four of the 
Roman clergy to assist him in his undertaking. This account 
is in some measure opposed by Henrioas Antisiodorensis, who, ' 
in the life of St. Germanus, in the l28th chapter, asserts, that 
St. Patrick brought with him thirty holy men ot the episcopal 
order, and dispersed them over the country. These are the 
words of that author,* "The blessed St. Patrick, having finished 
his journey from a very distant country, not only comforted his 
foJiowers by his presence, but he appointed thirty bishops, whom 
he had gathered together from the parts beyond the sea, after ha 
had consecrated them, into the Lord's harvest, because it was 
great and the labourers were few" From hsnce it appears, that 
St. Patrick proposed to himself the conversion of the whole 
island, which it was impossible for him to accomplish in his own 
person, and therefore he brought over with Mm a number of 
pious and learned associates to carry on the work, and the moie 
effectually to propagate the faith ; and when he arrived in the 
country, he inquired after those Scots who had embraced the 
Gospel from the preaching of Palladius, whom he received into 
communion, and ordained laws and canons for regulating his 
converts, and forming them into discipline; which injunctions 
were religiously observed by the Irish Christians throughout the 
kingdom, for 400 years after the death of St. Patrick, until tha 
island was invaded by the Danes. About the time that thia 
Irish apostle entered upon the execution of liis office, there waa 
a mint erected at Ardmach and Cashel, and money coined for 
the service of the state. 

Henricus Antisiodorensis above mentioned, in his ITith chap- 
ter, asserts that St. Patrick laid out the whole kingdom into cer- 

* Benedictus Patricius itinere longo de reglone longinqua peracto, et prae- 
8^ntia sua suos exhilarabat, et triginta episcopos ex transmarinis partibiis con- 
gregato3, et a se consecrates in Domiui mes^jein, eo quad esset multa et operarh 
, pauci, destiiiabatr 


tain divisions, and disposed the iahabitaiits, their cattle, their 
goodsj and all their efiects into such a method, that he knew Lha 
produce of all the land, and understood the private fortune^ and 
the abilities of all the people The tenth, not only of the fruits 
ot the earth, but of the inhabitants, their cattle, and their sub- 
stance, he separated for the support of the clergy : the men he 
ordained into some religious order of the Roman Catholic church, 
the women he settled in convents and nunneries by themselves; 
for he had erected monasteries and other structures for their re- 
ception, and appointed a sufficient revenue for their constant 
support. This autTJior is express to this purpose, where he de- 
livers himself in this manner :^- " He built a great number of 
monasteries, ior the convenience of the men, whom he made 
monks, and of the women, whom he separated as nuns, and 
assigned the tenth part of the lands and ot the cattle for their 
maintenance." The same writer observes farther upon this sub- 
ject, that by the order and prudent management of St. Patrick, 
there was not the least part of the whole kingdom that did not 
abound with religious persons of exemplary piety, whose devo- 
tion and holy lives were admired and had in reverence among 
the neighbouring nations, who usually distinguished the country 
of Ireland by the name of the island of saints. 

Nonnius, a Welsh author, in the history of Wales, bestows 
great encomiums upon St. Patrick, and, among other excellen- 
cies of his character, relates* that " he i junded 355 churches, 
and consecrated the same number of bishops ; but for presby- 
ters he ordained 3000 of them." The testimony of this writer 
is confirmed by the authority of an old poet, who delivers the 
same account in the following lines : 

The bless'd St Patrick, with his priestly hands, 
The rite, of consecration did confer 
Upon the most reUgious of his oiergy, 
Three hundred and afty-five in number. 
He likewise, for the service of the ohurcb, 
As many sacred structures did erect, 
And presbyters ordained three thousand. 

If it should seem improbable, and not easy to be credited, 
that so great a number of bishops should be consecrated and 

* Omnes ergo mares moniichos fcerainas sanctas mcniales erficiens. numorosa 
monastena editicavit ; decimamque portioneixi terrarurn ao pecuduru v^oruai sus- 
tentationi assignavit. 

f Rcclesias 35r fundavit, episcopos ordinarlt eodum numeroj presbyteros 
auteic usque ad trid millia ordinavit 


disposed ill the island at one time by St. Pacrick, let the testi- 
moay of St. Bernard be admitted, to take ofi this difficulty, who, 
treating in the life of St. Malachias concerning the ecclesiastical 
customs and discipline originally established in the Irish church, 
makes use of this expression,* " The bishops are changed and 
inaltiplied at the will and discretion of the metropolitan ; so 
that one bishopric was not content with one bishop, but every 
particular church was governed by its own particular bishop. 
From the testimony of this writer it appears that the bishops 
of Ireland were very numerous when Christianity began to be 
established in the time of St. Patrick ; and indeed .the necessity 
01 the church, that was then in her infancy, required the joint 
endeavours of many faithful pastors to compose and qualify the 
minds of new converts, and to guard against the attempts of the 
great enamy of mankind, whose kingdom was shaken by the 
zeal and devotion of these prelates, and in apparent danger of 
being overthrown. And, as a farther evidence upon this sub- 
ject, let it be considered that the ancient records of the kingdom 
iutorm us, that every deanery in the island had a bishop to 
preside over h : and the old chronicles relate that St, Patrick 
consecrated two archbishops in the country ; the archbishop of 
Ardmach, who was primate of all Ireland, and the archbishop of 
Cashel. The first of these prelates exercised a plenitude of 
power over the whole kingdom, especially his jurisdiction ex- 
tended over Leath Cuinn ; the other had authority over Leath 
Modha, but in obedience and subordinate to the primate and 

The reason of this distribution of ecclesiastical power seems 
to be because the sovereignty of the kingdom was in possession 
of the royal line of Heremon, of whose posterity was the mo- 
narch then reigning, Laogaire, the son of Niall, the renowned 
hero of the nine hostages. There were many personages of rank 
and quality descended from the royal branches ol this frimily 
who became early converts to the Christian faith, and received 
the initiation of baptism trom the hands of St. Patrick upon 
his first publication of the Gospel. The most eminent of these 
most noble proselytes were Eogan and Conall, who, with the 
principal lelatioas of their family, insisted that the metropolitical 
church, that was to preside over the kingdom, should be erected 

*• Miitaiitur et multiplicantu episcopi pr > libitu metropolitani ; ita ut uims 
epijcopatus uiio nan e.iS3t conteutus, t>ed si;igulae pene ecciesia; siiigiilos iiabareut 


and established at Leath Cainn, and should have the precedency, 
and exercise a jurisdiction in spirituals over all the bishops in 
the island ; and this privilege they were the more importunate 
to obtain, because they had the supreme command over the king- 
dom at that time, and they were willing that the new archiepis- 
copal see should be honoured with the same rights and dignities, 
and be equally extensive with their temporal power. ' For the 
same reason it was that the descendants from the line of Heber 
Fionn desired and obtained from St. Patrick that the see in the 
second degree of jurisdiction and authority should be appointed 
in the division of the country which they enjoyed, and whereiu 
they had the supreme command ; and accordingly thfe archie« 
piscopal diocese of Caahel, in Leath Modha, was established, 
because there lay the estate of that illustrious family, who were 
invested with great immunities and privileges in these partg> 
which they were in possession of from the reign of Conn, and 
exercised under the successive monarchs ot the kingdom : and 
this receives an additional evidence from the testimony of the 
most authentic records of the island, which not only mentiua 
the archbishop of Cashel under the title of the archbishop of 
Munster, but likewise he is particularly called the archbishop of 
Leath Modha in the ancient records. 

Some have imagined that Imlioch Jobhair was the seat of au 
archbishop in the time of St. Patrick, bat the reason of thi^i 
conjecture evidently arose from hence, that the archbishop and 
his clergy of Cashel, were violently banished from Cashel by the 
victorious Danes, who had almost subdued the whole kingdom, 
and supported themselves in their conquests by the most barba- 
rous outrages and military executions. Maolseachlin, the son of 
Molrony, had fixed himself in possession of Meath, in the reign 
of Niall Caille over Ireland, and Olchabhair had seized upon 
the government of Munster, and seated himself in that province; 
and Turgesius, the Danish general, had spread a terror over the 
whole kingdom, and by his arms was in command of exceeding 
large territories. The country labouring under the heavy yoke of 
these foreigners, and the inhabitants, flying from then- settle- 
ments to preserve their lives, it may be supposed with groat 
reason, that Foranan, who then was primate of Ardmach, retired 
from Cashel with his clergy, for their secnrit3% and absconded 
to Imlioch Jobhair, to conceal themselves from thecruelty of the 
Danes, who in their plunderings observed no distinction of 
sacred persons and things, but most dreadfully ravaged the coun- 
try, and forced the inhabitants into slavery. In this solitude, 


that was defended by thick woods and dangerous bogs, did this 
primate and his college of clergy tak.e up their residence, during 
the tyranny of the merciless Danes, which continued a long 
time, and reduced these most pioas and excellent divines to 
great miseries and distress. 

Nor dpes it appear from the ancient annals of the kingdom, ' 
that there were originally constituted any more archbishops in 
Ireland than the primate of Ardmach and the archbishop of 
Cashel. But the number afterwards increased ; for in the year 
of our Lord 1152, the Eoman cardinal, Johannes Papiron, made 
a voyage into Ireland, attended by Giallo Chriost O'Connaire, 
bishop ot Lismore,' who was commissioned with a legatine au- 
thority from the Pope. When they arrived they summoned a 
general convocation of the clergy, and assembled at Ceananus, 
in Meathj and in this convention an archbishop was consecrated 
for the city of Dublin, and another consecrated and appointed 
for the diocese of Tuam. Tiiese prelates, in this ecclesiastical 
assembly, obtained a Pallium, as will be particularly expressed 
hereafter, from the authority of the Irish annals, that were ori- 
ginally written at Cluain xiiduach. 

In the reign of Laogaire, king of Ireland, it was, as was be- 
fore observed, that St. Patrick entered upon the execution of 
his ministerial office, and began to introduce the Gospel in the 
kingdom ;" at which time Aongus, the son of Nadfraoch, was 
king of Munster. This prince, being informed that St. Patrick 
was propagating the faith in some part of that province, resolved 
to apply himself to him in person, and went with his retinuQ , 
as far as Magh Feimhin, where he found him preaching ; 
he invited him to his royal seat at Cashel, where Aongus was 
instructed in the Christian principles, and was admitted by 
baptism into the communion of the church. This transaction 
is expressly upon record, in the life of St. Patrick above men- 
tioned, where are these words :'^' "AYhen St. Patrick went about 
the province of Munster, Aongus, the son of Nadfraoch, the 
king of Munster, went to meet him at Magh Feimhin, in the 
lands of the Deisies, and joyfully conveyed him to the royal 
city of Cashel, which is in the country of Eoganacht, where the 
king believed and was baptized." The same writer gives an 
account of a misfortune that happened at the time when the 

* Dum vero Momoniam proficisceretur venit obviam ei rex Momonise Aon- 
gus, filius Naclfi-aoch, in cauipo Feimhin, iu terra Deisi, eumque cluxit in civi- 
tiiitnu regalem, nomine Caisil, qu£e est in vegiuue Eoganacht, ibique credidlt res 
Aongus et baptiaatiis est. 


kin^ was standing at the font, and relates that St. Patrick, 
striking the end of his episcopal staff, that was defended with a 
spike of iron, with some vehemence, designing to fix it in tha 
ground, he struck it through the foot of the king, which pufc 
him into great disorder; but notwithstanding the acute pain ha 
suffered, and the abundance of blood which flowed from tha 
wound, he had that regard for the religion into which he was 
baptized, that he would not stir from the place till the solemnity 
of the office was finished. This transaction is transmitted by 
the same authority in the following words," " While St. Patrick 
was pronouncing the benediction over the king, who was standin;^ 
to receive it, the point of the staff was fixed in the king's foot.'* 
From the testimony of this writer it appears that it was Aon- 
gus, the son of Nadfraoch, who had his foot transfixed with tha 
episcopal stafi; notwithstanding, it is the opiniou of some, that 
the person who received this wound was Eogan, the son of Nm\\ 
king of Ulster ; and as an indisputable evidence upon this occa- 
sion, the history of Leath Cuinn, very ancient, and of great 
authority, gives the same account, in the following verses, that 
were composed by the. celebrated poet Torna O'Muicouaire. 

His royal foot transfix'd, the gitshing blood 
Enrich'd the pavement with a uobie tioocL 

Aongus, the king of Munster, had a numerous issue ; for hii 
children were twenty-four sons and a,3 many daughters; and i o 
showed that regard to the piety and institutions of St. Patrick, 
that he devoted twelve of each sex to the service of God, and 
confined them to a religious and monastic life. This princa 
settled a fixed revenue upon St. Patrick and the clergy of Ire- 
land, to secure them from poverty and the contempt of tha 
people. He ordained that every person that was admitted to 
baptism within the province of Munster should pay three pence 
for the service of the church ; but the king, considering that it 
would be inconvenient for the clergy to collect their fees them, 
selves, and divert them from the conscientious discharge of their 
office, ordered by law that this tax should be paid into the king's 
exchequer, who, in consideration of it, obliged himself and his 
successors to deliver to the convents and religious houses founded 
by St. Patrick, 500 cows, 500 bars of iron, 500 shirts, 500 
li antles, and 500 sheep, which were to be duly provided every 

* Cum que Sanctum Patiicius regcin stanJo bcne'iixissct, ciispis baculi sancti 
fixa est ia pede regis. 


year for the support and maintenance of tlie clergy ; scad this 
triennial tribute was constantly paid into the treasury of the 
province till the time of Cormac Mac Caillenan. 

There is an account to be found in the Red Book of Mao 
Eogaine, that Aongus, the son of Nadfraoch, king of Munster, 
was a pious prince ; that he retained two bishops, ten priests, 
and. seventy-two persons of other religious orders, to attend upon 
him in his court, to say mass in his royal chapel and to offer up 
prayers to heaven for the happiness of ^himself and the whole 
kingdom ; and this he did by the direction of St. Patrick, who 
was the spiritual guide of this prince, and kept up the spirit of 
devotion in the court of Munster during the reign of Laogaire, 
the son of Niall, king of Ireland. 

Bryen, the son of Eochaidh Moidhmeodhin, had twenty-four 
Bons in the reign of Laogaire, the Irish monarch, at the time 
that St. Patrick was executing his commission in the kingdom. 
The principal of these brothers was Eichin, who had a large ter- 
ritory, and was of greatest authority in the province of Gonacht. 
To him St. Patrick applied himself, with a design to recom- 
mend the Christian faith, and convert him from the pagan reli- 
gion. But this prince was a violent bigot for the idolatry of his 
ancestors, and, instead of receiving the holy missionary with 
reverence suitable to his character, he was so transported with 
passion, that he fell upon him, and beat him without mercy ; 
and not contented with this barbarity, he commanded his 
brothers that were with him to correct him with blows, and 
show him no favour. The brothers obeyed the orders, and in- 
humanly cudgelled the saint, and bruised him all over his body : 
but the youngest, whose name was Duach Galach, was moved 
with compassion, and not only refused to strike him, but com- 
forted him under his misfortune, and took care of. his wounds, 
and entertained him honourably at his own house. This civility 
was so gratefully received by St. Patrick, that, as soon as he was 
able to go abroad, he went to the barbarous Eichin, and boldly 
expostulated Vv^ith him concerning the severity of his usage ; 
and, as an exemplary vengeance from heaven, for treating the 
ambassador of Christ with stripes and contempt, he predicted to 
his face that neither he, nor any of his cruel brothers, or of the 
posterity descended from them, should ever arrive at the princely 
dignity, or have the honour to wear a crown ; but the youngest 
brother, the compassionate Duach Galach, who treated him with 
veneration and humanity/, for the sake of the Great God, whose 
cocamissiouer he was, should sit upon a throne, and his descen- 


dants inherit the same blessing and honour for many ages. 
When the young prince heard of this prophecy, that was so im- 
portant to himself and his family, he solemnly engaged to St. 
Patrick, that he would obey his commands in whatever he en- 
joined him ; which submission was so acceptable to the prophet 
that he gave him his benediction, and assured him of the truth 
of what he had foretold, that he himself should sit upon a 
throne, and the crown lineally descend to his posterity. 

It was 430 years after the birth of Christ that St. Patrick 
opened his commission in Ireland, which was in the fourth year 
of the reign oi Laogaire, as before-mentioned. He continued iu 
Ireland sixty-one years, propagating the Christian doctrines 
with resolution and success, which number of years being added 
to the 430 above, make 491 from the beginning of the Christian 
era to the death of that Irish apostle ; who, as we are informed 
in the account of his life, was sixty-one years preaching the 
gospel in the island, and working miracles for the confirmation of 
the religion he recommended. This computation is supported 
by the concurring testimony of an ancient poet of good autho- 
rity, who has transmitted the account in these verses subjoined : 

The holy saint, with zeal and Christian courage, 
Did propagate the Gospel of his Master, 
For one-and-sixty years, and miracles 
Performed,^ strong evidence of trath. 

It it should be questioned whether there are any such verses 
upon record in the life oi St. Patrick that is handed down to 
tbe present times, let it be considered, that we are informed by 
a manuscript chronicle of antiquity, that sixty-four persons have 
severally written the life of this reverend missionary ; and no 
doubt there is some difference to be observed in their relations ; 
and therefore it is not to be wondered that some particular 
transactions and miracles of that saint are expressed in some of 
these lives that are omitted in others ; but the authority of the 
whole is not to be overthrown for this reason, which would be a 
severe execution, and was never put in practice in judging of 
the truth ol other histories. 

In the reign oi Laogaire, king of Ireland, Dubhthach, the 
son of Lughair, a poet, Fithall Feargus, and Eosa, the son of 
Tirchin, recommended to St. Patrick the examination ot the 
chronicles and genealogies of the kingdom, and submitted them 
to his correction ; but the saint modestly refused to act in a 
matter oi this importance, upon his own judgment, because he 


was not thoroughly acquainted with the antiquities of the island 
and the pedigrees of the families ; and therefore he addressed 
himself to Laogaire, and desired him to issue out his royal 
mandate, for a convocation of the principal clergy, historians, 
and antiquaries of the kingdom, and in the writs to express the 
time and place of their meeting. The king was well pleased 
with the method, and accordingly ordered out his summons, and 
the most eminent of the three professions met and assembled 
in convocation. The several genealogie.?, and the old record:?, 
were produced before the convention, who examined into their 
authority with great care and exactness ; but considering the 
number of the members that composed the assembly, and tho 
difficulty and the time that would be employed, if every parti- 
cular person was to read over the whole and give his opinion ; 
it was agreed by consent, that a select committee of nine should 
be appointed, to whom the purgation and amendment of tho 
chronicles should be committed, and their corrections shouM 
receive a sanction from the whole assembly. The nine deputed 
upon this occasion were three learned kings, three eminent pre- 
lates, and three of the most accomplished antiquaries : the three 
kings were, Laogaire, the son of Niall, tho hero of the nine hos- 
tages ; Daire, king of Ulster, and Core, king of Munster. The 
Christian bishops were St. Patrick, the pious Binen, and the 
judicious Cairneach j the antiquaries were Dubhthach, Feargus, 
and Rosa. By this learned committee were the genealogies of 
the principal families, and the ancient records of the kingdom, 
carefully examined, and purged oi all spurious relations, and 
then disposed into the archives of the island, as a venerable and 
authentic collection, whose veracity was to be relied upon, and 
never was questioned by future ages, who called this body of 
records the Great Antiquity. This convocation, and the select 
committee, who had the particular inspection of these affairs^ 
are transmitted by an ancient poet in these lines that follow ; 

The learned authors of those choice records, 
Which for their truth are called the Great Antiqvity, 
Were nine, selected by the convocation, 

For wisdora and integrity .renowned; ■ ■ 

• Three kings, three prelates, and thrc^e antiquaries : 
The prelates were, the most devout St. Patrick, 
The pious Binen, and the wise Oairneaeh ; 
The liings were Laogaire, the Irish nionarclo, 
A prince in heraldry exactly skill'd ; 

Join VI with him was the judicious Dairf>, , 

The warlike king of Ulster ; the third, ^ „ ■'% , j 

'A prince for letters and for martial acta 


Was famous, hh name was Cere, the potent king 
Of Mnuster : three antiquaries next survey'd 
'i'hese old records, and purg'd tliem by their skill ; 
'ihe faithful Dubhthach, and the sage Feargus, 
/iud Eosa, nicely vers'd in foreign tongues. 
Those nine perus'd the annals of their ancestors, 
l>as'd the errors, the effects of fraud 
Or ignorance ; and by the test of truth 
Lxamin'd, they establish'd the records, 
J^nd every pecugree of noble blood ; 
And thus corrected they descend to us. 
Unworthy issue of our brave progenitors. 

The fiimals and records being thus perused and reformed^ by 
the care and learning of this select committee, the king, hy the 
consent of the nobility, ordained, that they should be committed 
to the trust of the reverend prelates of the kingdom, who had 
them transcribed in legible characters, and laid up in their prin- 
cipal churches for the benefit ot posterity. There are many of 
these venerable manuscripts preserved to the present times, and 
many copies of them found in the custody of the curious at this 
day ; such are the book oi Ardmach, the Psalter oi Cashel, the 
book of Glean da loch, the book called in the Irish language 
Leabhar na Huaidhchongabhala, the treatise of Cluain mac 
naois, the book of Fionta cliiana haiglmeach, the Yellow book 
of Moling, the Black book ot Molaiga, and several other ancient 
tracts, that relate to the antiquities of the kingdom, which have 
tifiorded great assistance in the collection of this history. 

And farther, that the annals, the genealogies, and chronicles 
of the kingdom, might be preserved incorrupt, without false- 
hood or interpolations, it was established by law, that the sub- 
stance, and the most important transactions, should be tran- 
scribed once in every three years into the royal Psalter of Tara, 
after they had been examined, and received a sanction from the 
approbation of the great assembly of the kingdom. But the 
])articular account of these triennial conventions, and. the nature 
of their debates, have been mentioned, when we spoke of the 
reign of Cormac, the Irish monarch, and thereiore will be pro- 
secuted no farther in this place. 

The princi])al authors, who treated of the aflairs of Ireland 
in the pagan times, were these following : Amergin Gluugeal, 
»Sean Macaighe, Brigh Banaghdar, from whom the woid Brighe 
in the Iri^-h language is become proverbial ; Conla Caoiu 
Bhreathach, the famous antiquary of the province of Conacht ; 
Beanchan Mac Cuil Chlaoiu, and the learned Fachtna his son ; 
^eanchan, the Bon oi OilioUa ; Muran, the son of Maoin ; 


Feargus Fianaidhe, in Kerry ; Luachra, Feircheairtine, a cele- 
brated poet ; Neidhe, the son of Aidhna ; Aitherue, the sou of 
Amhnas ; Feargus, a poet of note, the son of Aithirne ; Neara, 
the son of Fionchuil, from Siodubh, Seadamus, the son of Mo- 
ruinn ; Fearadach Fionnfathach, the principal author of tho 
Wisdom of the king of Ireland ; Fithall Feargus, a good poet ; 
Rosa, the son of Tirchin ; and Dubhthach O'Lugair ; these threo 
last mentioned delivered the annals and public records of the 
kingdom to St. Patrick, to be revised by him, which he refused 
to correct by his own j udgment, without the assistance of the 
most learned professors in the kingdom. 

In the times of paganism, it was ordained by law, that if any 
public antiquary had deviated from the truth in any state re- 
cord, or in the private genealogy of a family, he was immedi- 
ately degraded and not allowed for the future to act in his pro- 
fession : if a judge, through ignorance or corruption, pronounced 
unjust judgment, he was never afterwards permitted to sit in 
the courts of justice. And there seems to be good authority to 
believe, that there were several concomitant marks and symp- 
toms that attended the sentence of the judge, either in his own 
person or in some other remarkable way, whereby it was pub- 
licly known whether the decree pronounced was consistent with 
justice or not ; particularly we are informed by good evidence, 
that when an Irish judge, called Sean Macaighe, delivered an 
unjust sentence, there broke out visibly many large blisters 
upon his right cheek ; but when he was upright in his judg- 
ment, the skin remained smooth, and no pustules appeared. 

The celebrated Conla Caoin Breathach administered justice 
with the strictest equity, was proof against the corruption of 
bribes, and delivered his sentence without affection or prejudice. 
Seancha Macuill was a person of consummate wisdom and in- 
tegrity ; and when he presided in courts of justice, and was to 
pronounce his decree, he always fasted the night before. When 
his son Fachtna, who was a judge in those times, was unjust in 
his decision of causes, if it was in the time of harvest, a very 
remarkable event ensued, upon the night following all the acorns 
would fall from the trees in that part of the country, which was 
a great misfortune to the inhabitants ; but if his decree was 
consistent with justice, no calamity ensued, but the oaks re- 
tained their fruit. It was observed, that if a judge was cor- 
rupt in his administration in the spring, when the trees were in 
blossom, the cows forgot their natural instinct, and would not 
bear their calves to remain near them ; and the famous Moran, 


the son of Maoin^ who was one ol the principal judges o.t tiie 
kingdom, when he sat upon the bench to administer justice,, put 
the miraculous chain, called in the Irish language Jodha Morain, 
about his neck, which was attended with that wonderful virtue, 
that if the judge pronounced an unjust decree, the chain would 
instantly contract itselt, and encompass the neck so close, that 
it would be almost impossible to breathe ; but if he delivered a 
just sentence, it would open itself, and hang loose upon the 

A certain distinguished evidence of truth or ialsehood was 
likewise observed to attend upon the historians and public no- 
taries Oi the kingdom, which restrained them from corrupting 
the genuine chronicles, or altering the genealogies of private 
families ; but the particular signs that followed sannot be dis- 
covered at this distance of time, because many records oi mo- 
ment are lost from whence we might expect information upon 
this subject. However, we have the same evidence to prove 
the authority of the Irish annals and public manuscripts, as is 
esteemed sufScient to coniirm the histories of other nations ; 
and perhaps it would be no more than truth to affirm, that no 
people, except the Jews, whose writers were divinely mspired, 
have more genuine or earlier accounts of the concerns of their 
ancestors, *-han the chronicles and records that give being to the 
present history ; and ior this reason, among many otners be- 
cause no nation in the world could possibly be more exact in 
preserving their records, and transmitting them uncorrupt to 
posterity, than the ancient Irish ; especially considering they 
were corrected and confirmed by the most pious and learned 
prelates oi the Christian church m that kingdom. 

Laogaire, the son of Niali, king of Ireland, summoned a 
great convention to assemble at Tara^ alter the custom ot Ins 
ancestors j and when the principal nooiiity, gentry, and the 
most learned antiquaries met, at the tim5 and place appointed, 
the ancient laws and records were read over ; and when they 
were purged and corrected, ana the new statutes were trans- 
cribed and added, they were deposited in the most sacred ar- 
chives, as a body oi laws to be 3onsulced upon occasions lor the 
administration of justice and for the government and public 
happiness of the kingdom. 

When this parliament assembled, the king of Ireland kept 
his court in a royal palace, which was appointed only tor his 
own use and the reception of his attendants ; and this was called 
the house ot Moidhchuarta> The king of every province iu «h9 

island had likewise a house assigned, for the convenience of him- 
gjlf and his retinue. Tne king of Munster lived in the ho'jse 
called in the Irish language Lung Muimhneach ; for Lung sig- 
niSes a house, which being joined to Muinhneach, implies the 
Mimster house : the king of Leinster had for his house Lung 
Lughneach, or the Leinster house : the house wlieie the king 
oi' Conacht resided, was known bj the name of Coisirchon- 
iiachtach : and the palace of the king of Ulster was called 
Eachruis Uladh. 

There were three other houses at Tara, that were built lor the 
use ol the public : the first was called Caircair ne JNgiali, whicli 
was a strong building where the state prisoners were kept and 
secured : the second was callecl llealta Nabhfileadh, where the 
judges, the antiquaries, and the poets of the kingdom assembled 
to decide suits at law, to impose lines and punishments upon 
delinquents, and to regulate and adjust th:^ customs of the coun- 
try ; the third was a noble edifice, called Grianan na Ninghean^ 
where the provincial queens, and the ladies their attendants^ re- 
tided during the assembly, and kept a very splendid court. Bat 
notwithstanduig this structure was only one house yet every 
princess had a separate apartment magnificently firted up, waica 
coutributed in a great measure to thu splendour and gallantry 
cf that triennial convention. 

The provincial kings, it has been observed, had their separate 
houses daring the sittmg of the parliament at Tara j but wnea 
they assembled upon the business of the kingdom^ and to enaci 
or repeal laws for the benefit of the public, they met in the great 
house ot Miodhchuart, where there was a most noble room of 
{•tate, where every member of the assembly sat, aacording to his 
profession and his quality, witaout disputes )P precedency or 

In the middle of the room there was a throne erected, and 
under a canopy was placed a royal chair, where the king of Ire- 
land always sat with his back to the east. The situation of the 
house, it must be observed, was directly east and west. Upon 
the left hand of the monarch sat the king of Munster ; the king 
of Leinster sat before the king, with his face towards the throne; 
the king of Conacht sat behind his back, and the king of Ulster 
f;at upon the king's right hand, towards the north ; the princi- 
]al nobility and gentry of each province had their places near 
llie kings they belonged to ; bo that the whole assembly made a 
most solemn and splendicl appearance. The manner of the bitting 


of this parliament is upon record in the writings of a learned 
antiquary, in the following verses : 

The Irish monarch on a royal throne 
Conspicuous sat, in tlie mid.lle of the house; 
The prince of Leinstev in a chair of state 
Was plac'd, but with his back to the assamb^y, 
His face towards the king ; behind the throne 
The prince of Conacht sat ; towards the south. 
Upon the king's left hand, the prince of Muaster 
Grac'd the assembly ; and upon the right 
Sat in his splen lid robes the prince of Ulster. 

Laogaire, the king of Ireland, was disturbed in his government 
by Criomthan, the son of Eana Cinsalach, who, with the assis- 
tance of the provincial troops of Lsinster, fought with the Irish 
army the memorable battle of Ath Dara, where the king's forces 
were defeated with terrible slaughter, and himself taken pri- 
soner. Criomthan, having the king in his power, would not 
give him his liberty, unless he would promise and engage, with 
the most solemn oaths and imprecations, that he would never 
attempt to get possession of Boiroimhe, or challenge any right 
to it. The king being in his enemy's power, thought proper to 
tubmit to the conditions, and bound himself under the obligation 
of the strictest oaths ; but when he was released he broke thrpugh 
Lis engagements, which he insisted were the efiects of necessity, 
raid extorted from him by military violence. But the vengeance 
of heaven ever attending upon the guilt of perjury, would not 
}'e eluded by such sophistical evasions ; and therefore by a thun- 
derbolt put an end to the life of the unfaithful king, at Greal- 
lach Dabhuill, near the Liffee, as v;e are informed by an old poet 
in this manner : 

Laogaire, the son of the renoAvned Niall, 
Was struck from heaven, in the delightful plains 
Near Liffee's fruitful streams, to death devoted 
Tor violating the bonds of solemn oaths. 

This was the end of that unfortunate prince, designed by 
heaven aa a perpetual example to succeeding kings, who triiia 
Tvuth treaties and oaths, and imagine they have a dispensing 
I>ower to cancel the obligations of them at their own pleasure, 
or when that wicked engine, called reasons of state, seems to re- 
quire it. 

The consort of Laogaire was Aongus, daughter to the general 
who commanded the army of King O'Liathan, by which lad^^ h*^ 


had a son, whose name was Lughaidh. There is a relation in- 
serted in some old manuscripts concerning this princess and her 
son, which, without doubt, is owing to the bigotry and supersti- 
tion of those early times, which had that veneration for St. 
Patrick, that almost every action of his life was esteemed a mir- 
acle ; this transaction that follows, it must be observed, is not 
designed to gain belief" nor is it proposed, by relating it in this 
history, to put it upon the same foot of certainty and credit with 
other particulars, though nothing is impossible to God Almighty : 
but as it was the foundation of an ancient custom practised to this 
day by the genuine Irish, and not otherwise to be accounted for, 
it must not be omitted absolutely. The story therefore is this : 

St. Patrick, attended by the principal of the Irish clergy, made 
a visit to the consort of Laogaire, who received them with great 
courtesy and goodness, and when she had assured them of her 
esteem and the continuance of her favour, she invited them to 
an entertainment, that was provided on purpose, as a testimony 
of her respect ; for the queen it must be considered, was bap- 
tized by St. Patrick, upon her marriage, and from that time had 
the saint in great veneration. The young prince was placed 
near his mother at the table, who, being hungry, and eating 
hastily, he unfortunately attempted to swallow a large morsel, 
but after all his endeavours, it stuck fast in his throat and stop- 
ped his breath. The whole company was astonished at this 
misfortune, the court was in confusion, and the queen particu- 
larly was overwhelmed with grief, and was utterly inconsolable. 
All methods were used to open the passage, but without success; 
so that the prince was given over for lost beyond recovery. The 
queen, finding all human means ineffectual, addressed herself to 
ISfc. Patrick, and implored his assistance in this distress, whoso 
prayers to heaven she thought would restore her son, notwith- 
standing he seemed expiring, and in the very agonies of death. 
The saint immediately ordered the youth to be removed into 
another apartment, where no person was to be admitted but 
himself- By this time the prince, to all appearance, was quite 
dead ; which was so far from discouraging the endeavours of St. 
Patrick, that he applied himself by fervent prayer to heaven, 
for the space of three days and three nights, and continued in 
that supplicating posture without intermission, or refreshing 
himself by eating or drinking; for he justly tht^ught, that the 
duty of fasting was a necessary attendant upon the act of prayer, 
and added an irresistible force to devotion. Upon the third 
day, (as some legendary writer has corrupted the story, which 


hitlierto is far from being incredible,) St. Michael the Archan- 
gel, conveyed himself into the apartment, where St. Patrick was 
prosecuting his request with great perseverance and importunity, 
and stood before him in the shape of a pigeon. The dove im- 
mediately accosted the saint, and after he had informed him 
that he was the Archangel Michael under that humble appear- 
ance, he told him, that the Almighty God had heard his prayars 
for the recovery of the prince, who lay stretched at length 
upon his back with his mouth wide open, a posture very conve- 
ni'9nt for the operation that was to follow; for the dove, it seems, 
without any difficulty, thrust his bill down the throat where the 
stoppage was, and dexterously drew out the morsel that stopped 
the breath, and the prince immediately revived. The pigeon 
having executed his business, conveyed himseli away without 
any ceremony, and vanished out of sight. 

St. Patrick, leading the young prince by the hand into the 
presence of the queen, presented him alive ; and she was so trans- 
ported with joy, that she received him upon her knees, and in 
that submissive posture returned her thanks to the saint, for hi.s 
unwearied application to heaven, and congratulated him upon 
the success of his prayers. But he, with great modesty, refused 
to take upon himself the merit of the action, and relating to her 
the particular circumstances oi his recovery, told her, that she 
ought to express her gratitude to Michael tiie Archangel, who 
was the great phj^sician that restored the prince The queen 
was so affected with the account, that she obliged herself, by a 
most solemn vow, never to forget the favour, and as an acknow- 
ledgment to St. Michael, she promised to bestow annually one 
siieep out of every flock she had, and a part of all the provision 
that came to her table, upon the poor, daring her life : and to 
perpetuate the memory of this miraculous recovery of the 3'ouog 
prince, and in honour to the archangel who effected this cure, it 
was ordained by law, that all the Christian converts throughout 
the kingdom of Ireland sliould conform to the practice of the 
queen, and constantly offer the same oblations. And in obedi- 
ence to this injunction, arose the custom of killing St. Michael's 
sheep, called in the Irish language Cuid Mhichill, observed to 
this day ; for it is most certain, that every family, upon the 
29th of September, which is the anniversary festival in honour 
of St. Michael, at least oi the ordinary sort of people, kill a 
sheep, and bestow the greatest part of it upon relieving tha 
poor. This is the relation, which is impossible to be true in 
every circumstance, yet so much of it may deserve credit, tha' 


the young pnace, the son of Laogaire, was by soms accilsnt in 
apparent hazird of his life, and was recovered by the C-ire and 
advice of St. Patrick, upon Michaelmas Day ; in memory of 
which deliverance, the qaeen from a principle of piety, did be- 
Biow such yearly charities upon the poor, whose example v,rai 
followed by the whole kingdom, arnd is religiously obiserved by 
many families to this day. 

Oilioli Molt succeeded Laoraire in the throne of Ire- 
^^;o' land. He was the son of Dathy, son of Fiachadh, son 
of Eochaidh Moidhmeodhin, descended from the royal 
line of HeremoU;, and governed the island twenty years. Tue 
consort of this prince was Uchtdealbh, the daughter of Aonguv 
son of Nadfraocb : and ths reason why he was distinguished by 
the name of Oilioli Molt was, because his mother, whose nama 
was Eithne, when she was big with child oi him, passionately 
longed for a piece of wether mutton ; she communicated her 
desire to a gentlewoman, called Fial, the daughter of Eochaidh 
Sedaigh, who came to visit her when she was uear her de- 
livery, and when the child was born the lady insisted that 
Ids name should be Oilioli Molt. It was in the reign of this 
prince, that A^malgaidh, the sou of Fiachadn, son of Eochaidh 
Moidhmeodhin, was king of Conacht, who died after he had ga- 
vorued the province twenty years. In his time Muireadhacb 
Mundearg was king of Uist< r, who died after a reign of twelve 
years. This provincial prince was the son ot Feargna, son of 
Ddllain, son of Dubhthaig, son ol Mianaign. son of Lighaidh, 
son of Aongus Fionn, son oi Feargas Dabhdhea.lhach. 

This Irish monarch, soon after he was proclaimed, thought it 
convenient to assemble the convention of the s*:ate3, at the royal 
\ {dace of Tara, after the example of precedent kings. And here 
ii may bs proper to observe, that in ancient times there were 
\ jree general convocations held in the whole kingdom of Ire- 
f(:aid ; thej were distinguished by the names of the convocation 
( f Tara, the convocation oi Eamhain, and the convocation of - 
(Jraachan. The first of these has been particularly described 
in the foregoing part of this history, the two others deserve our 
no ice in this place. 

.t must be observed therefore, that the conventions of Eam- 
liaiii and Cruachan were appointed to examine and inspect into 
the tradesmen and mechanics, to determine of their abilities in 
the ii' several crafcs, and to regulate their ocoupations. This as- 
sei ibly consisted of the principal nobility and gentry, with the 
m )it UariioJ autic^uaries of the kingdom ; aui when they met, 

Of IHiLAXD £19 

Vagj s-elacted tlireei^core, who vere the ino ;t expert in their se- 
veral professions; and coLiimissioned them with a power to sepa- 
rate and disperse themselves throughont the island, and to take 
cogaizance of the accomplishments, the industry, or imperfeo- 
tions of the several tradesmen within their respective jurisdic- 
tions ; and without an express license from one of these commis- 
sioners, no mechanic could exercise his art, or vrork publicly ^al 
Lis trade, in any part of tlie country. These were the priuclpal 
affairs concerted in these assemblies, which were of great use 
towards the improvement of ingenuity, industry, and trade, and 
promoted order and uniformity among the people. 

There is a manuscript extant, of great antiquity, cilled 
Leabhar Oiris, that mentions this Irish monarch, OilioU -Molt, 
under the title of king of the Scots : and in the reign of this 
prince it was, that Benignus, a comharbha ot St. Patrick, that 
is, a clergyman of a religious order ordained by that missionary, 
departed this life. This king was engaged in a war with the 
people of Leinster, and he fought the memorable battle of Tuama 
Aichir with the inhabitants of that province, in which action 
many gallant soldiers perished, and the fight concluded v.ith in-' 
credible slaughter on both sides. In the reign of this king, 
AmbrosiuSj king "of Wales, had many encounters with the Scots 
And Picts ; and about tiiis time Conall Creamhtuine died, as did 
likewise Jarlaithe, the third bishop of Ardmach, when Simpli- 
cius was Pope of Eome. This Oilioll Molt did not enjoy tha 
crown by right of succession j for Lughaidh, the son of Laogaire, 
was the hereditary prince, who promoted his title by the sword, 
ftnu was supported in his pretensions to the crown by Mortough, 
Eon of Earca, Feargus Cearbheoil, Conall Creamhtuine, and by 
Fiachadh Lonn, the son of Caolbhadh, king of Dailraidhe, who 
raised a numerous army, and when they had joined the young 
prince, they engaged the king's army, and fought the battle of 
Ucha, where Oilioll Molt was defeated and slain. 

Twenty years after Lughaidh obtained this victory, the six 
sons of Eochaidh Munramhar went to Scotland ; they were 
known by the names of the two Aongus's, the two Loarns, and 
the two Feargus's. It was the distance of 300 years from the 
reign of Connor, the son of Neasa, to the time of Cormac, the 
fcon of Art ; and 204 years had passed from the reign of Cormac 
to the memorable battle of Ocha ; twenty years after which en- 
gagement the sons of Eire, tha son of Eoohaidh Munramhar, 
transported themselves into Scotland. At this time Duach 
Galach, the son of BrveU; the son of Eo^h-iidh Mjidameodhom, 


governed the province of Munster ; he reigned seven years, and 
fell by the sword of Eochaidh Tormcharna. 

Lnghaidh succeeded to the crown of Ireland. He wag 
.„o* the son of Laogaire, the son of Niall, the hero of the 
nine hostages, descended from the royal Une of Herem'on, 
and his reign continued twenty years. At this time Fraoch, 
the son of Fionchad, was king over the province of Leinster; and 
now it was that the battle of Cill Osnach was fought at Moigh 
Fea^ in the county of Caharlo, four miles eastward of Leithlin : 
in this action Aongus, the son of Nadfraoch, who had been king 
of Munster thirty-six years, lost his life ; his wife also, whose 
name was Eithne Uathach, the daughter of Criomhthan, son of 
Eana Cinsalach, was slain by Mortough, the son of Earca, and 
Oilioll, the son of Dunluing, as a poet of sufBicient credit in- 
forms us in these lines ; 

The martial prince Aongas, son of Nad raocb, 
Fouglit in Cill Osnach's bloody field, and fell 
By the victorious sword of Oilioll, 
Son of Dmiluing. 

After this action, Fraoch, the son of Fionachuidhe, son to the 
king of Leinster, was slain in the battle of Graine, by Eochadli, 
the son of Cairbre. In the tenth year of the reign of this Irish 
monarch, Felix, the third of the name, was elected Pope of 
Rome : and near the same time was fought the battle of 
Eamhna, by Cairbre, son of Naill, who afterwards engaged in 
the battle of Cinnailbhe, in the province of Leinster. About 
this time Mochaon Naolndroma died ; and by Cairbre above 
mentioned was fought the ftimous battle of Seaghsa, where 
Duach Teangamhadh, the king of Conacht, was slain by Mor- 
tough, son of Earca, as the following lines particularly testify : 

The martial prhice Duach Teaugiamhadh 
Kngag'd in the three moaiorable battles 
Of Dealga Muchroma, Tuama, 
And Seaghsa. 

About this time it was that the inhabitants of the province 
of Leinster engaged with a gallant army against Jobh Neili, 
and fought the battle of Loch Moighe, where there was much 
l>lood spilt, and a desperate slaughter on both sides ; and now 
it was tnai Feargus More, the son of Earca, followed by the 
Uailriadas, made an attempt upon the kingdom of Scotland, 
and arrived at great authority in that country. In tiie four- 


teenth year of the reign of Lughaidh, the son of Laogaire, king 
■of Ireland, St. Patrick died, after he had, by indefatigable zeal 
and industry, propagated the Christian faith, and extended his 
conquests over the pagan idolatry through the greatest part of 
the island ; the age of this saint was 122 years. . The king o^ 
Ireland did not long survive him, but died soon after by a stroke 
with a thunderbolt, which was the instrument of vengeance used 
by heaven to punish him for opposing the preaching of Sc. 
Patrick, and suppressing to the utmost of his power, the doc- 
trines of Christianity, and preventing their admission among his 
people. Geiasius was the Pope of Rome in the last year of the 
reign of Lughaidh, king of Ireland. 

Mortough obtained possession of the government, lie 
.,jo' was the son of Muireadhach, son of Eogan, son of 
Niall, the hero of the nine hostages, descended from the 
royal line of Heremon, and filled the throne twenty-four years. 
The mother of this Irish monarch was Earca, the daughter of 
Loar, who came from Scotland. In the beginning of the reign 
of this prince the pious Ciaran was born, whose father was a 
carpenter, but of eminent extraction, of the posterity of Ir, the 
son of Milesius, king of Spain. This Ciaran was a person de- 
voted to a religious life, and his name is often mentioned with 
honour in the book that treats of the lives of the Irish saints. 
In the fourth year of the government of Mortough, Anastatius, 
the second of that name was elected Pope ; and about this time 
the famous Comhgall Beannchoir was born, and in process of 
time became an abbot of such note and authority, that he had 
40,000 religious monks under his jurisdiction and command; the 
character of this religious person, and the extent of his power, 
is particularly expressed in the book called Leabhar Ruadh Mao 
Eagaine ; the authority of which relation comes recommended 
by the concurring testimony of St. Bernard, a writer of reputa- 
tion, who, in the life of St. Malachias, gives an account that ad 
eminent disciple, whose name was Roanus, who had been edu- 
cated under this Comhgall, was sent abroad by the holy abbot, 
who, he says, had erected a hundred religious houses ; and men- 
tion the particulars of his descent, that he was oi the posterity 
of Iriall, the son of Conall Cearnach, son of Amergin, of tha 
illustrious tribe of Clanna Ruighruidhe, descended from Ir^ the 
son of Milesius, king of Spain. This relation is farther sup- 
ported by an ancient poem, extracted from the chronicle of 
saints, wherein are these verses. 

352 Tli:': GENERAL IlI.TOIll 

The r.iligiou.s Comligall Beannclioir, •- 

Son of SeacUma, with undaunted courage 

Met the approach of death ; with Christian bravery 

His soul surrendor'd, and approv'd himself 

Descended from the royal line of Ir. 

Near this tirao died Anastius^ the Roman emperor ; and the 
pious St. Caiueach Acbadh Bo left the world ; this devotionist 
was descended from Feargus, the son of Raogh, derived fi'om 
the royal stem of Ir, the son of Milesius, ^ing of Spain. la 
the reign of Mortough, king of Ireland, was born that great 
example of piety, Collum Cill, the son of Feidhlin, son of Fear- 
gus, son of Conull Gulban, son of Niall, the hero of the nine 
Postages. About this time died the most religious St. Bridget; 
this excellent parson was the daughter of Dubhthaig, the son of 
Ureimne, son of Breasal, son of Deic, son ofCoanla, son of Art, 
fcon of Cairbre Niadh, son of Cormac, son of Aongus More, son 
of Eathach Fioii Fuathnairt, son of Feidhlimidh Rsachtmar, 
son of Tuathal Teachtmar, of royal extraction, and descsnddd 
from the line of Heremon. She died afcer she had lived eighty- 
seven, or according to another computation, seventy years. 

In the tenth year of the reign of Mortough, king of Ireland, 
Symmachus was elected Pope, and presided in the primacy 
fifteen years and eight months. In the twenty-first year of hia 
reign Hormisda .succeeded in the pontificate, and lived four years 
afcer his election. About this time the dead body of the blessed 
Autonius, a most religious monk, was miraculously found, and 
conveyed to Alexandria, and solemnly interred in the church 
dedicated to St. John the Baptist in that city. Mortough mit 
\7ith great disturbances and opposition in his government, and 
ill one year was obliged to engage in the folio wing ~ memorable 
battles j the battle of Cinneich, the battle of Almiine, the 
battle of Cliach, the battle of Eibhlina, and the battle ot Moighe 
llailbhe ; not long after this last action, Mortough died at the 
house of Cheitthigh ; and near the same time the devout Sg. 
Ailbhe Imiiigh was translated to a better life. 

Tuathal Mao-garbh succeeded in the throne. He was 
f.,' ' the son of Cormac Caoch, son of Cairbre, son ot Niall, 
the hero of the nine hostages, descended from the re- 
nowned posterity of Heremon, and governed the island thirteen 
years. The mother of this monarch was Comaoiu, the daughter 
of Dall Bronuigh, and he was particularly distinguished by the 
Dime of Tuathal Maolgarbh, because his mother, as soon as sha 
was delivered of him; sirack his head against a stone, as a>'r't 

or niELixD. n.')3 

oi charm upon v/liio'i hU fatara fjrtuua wa3 to dapBiicI ; the 
Mow made an imjires^ion, aad occisioned a flita83s ia his skull, 
which was the reason that gave him the title of Tuathal Maol- 
garbh. In the reign of this Irish monarch, Mootius, a person 
of exemplary piety, and* one of the disciples of St. Patrick, 
died, after 'hd' had lived, as the chronicles assert, 300 years. 
Under the government of this prince, B.ioithiu, a scholar of 
Collum Cill was born ; and, it must be observed, that Collum 
Cill and Baoithin were nearly related, for they were brothers' 
children. About this time Comhgall, the king of Scotland, 
departed the present life, and the devout Mobi, a very excellent 
person, died near the same time ; he was otherwise called by the 
name oi Bearchain, a celebrated prophet, extracted from the 
posterity of Fiachadh Baiceada, the son of Cathaoir More. Tae 
noted battle of Tortan was fought by the people of the province 
of Leinster, in the reign of Tuathal Maolgarbh ; in which en- 
gagement, Earca, the son of OilioU Molt, from whom came Fir- 
ceara, lost his life. The battle of Sligo was fought not long 
f;.fterwards, by the two young princes, Feargus and Daniel, the 
two sons of M or tough, son of Earca, in which bloody action 
I^ogan Beal, who had governed the province of Conacht thirty - 
five years, was unfortunately slain. Abo^it this time died the 
excellent Oghran, the saint of Leathruidh, who lineally de- 
ecended from the posterity of Conaire, the son of Modha Lamha ; 
find the most religious Ciaran, the carpenter's son, was cut off 
in the blossom of his age, having lived no more than thirty-one 

In the reign of this Irish monarch it was, that Bachach, which 
in the Irish language signifies a sturdy cripple, had his head 
f truck off from his shoulders, by the vengeance of heaven, as a 
punishment for swearing falsely, by the hand of Ciaran ; and 
this execution, by the appointment of Providence, happened al 
the great fair of Tailtean, in the sight ot innumerable spectators. 

Tuathal Maolgarbh was soon after slain by Maolmor, the son 
of Niathire, at the request and instigation of Diarmuid, the son 
of Feargus Ceirbheoil, at a place called Grealladh Eily. In the 
!eign of this monarch, Guaire, the son of Colman, took upon 
liim the command of the province of Conacht, and fixed him 
f elf in the throne, after the death of Eogan Beal, notwithstand- 
ing the deceased prince had a son, whose name was Ceallach, 
\\'ho had entered himself into a religious order, under the tui- 
tion of Ciaran, with a design to devote himself to a pious and 
monastic life j but by the persuasion and importunicy of hia 


friends ia the province, who resolved to assert and support h'n 
right, this young devotionist was prevailed upon to leave his 
cell, and appear at the head of a good body of forces, who de- 
termined to proclaim and establish him in the throne of Co- 
nacht. Ciaran soon missed him out oi his monastery, and 
cursed him with a most dreadful imprecation, anH implored 
heaven to blast his designs, by catting him off by a sudden and 
untimely death. Ceallach had intelligence of the severe resent- 
ment of Ciaran, and dreading the influence oi his prayers, he 
hastened to the convent, and prostrating himself with the most 
humble submission at the feet of the abbot, he promised to pay 
him implicit obedience for the future part of his life, and to 
engage in nothing without his approbation and consent. The 
compassionate Ciaran, imputing his conduct to the folly of 
youth and the importunity of his friends, immediately gave him 
his pardon and his benediction ; but assured him withal, that 
his prayers were sealed in heaven by an irreversible decree, and 
that his death would be violent and unexpected. This answer 
surprised the young votary, who applied himself for the rest of 
his life to piety and charitable acts, and continued in the mo- 
nastery under the care of Ciaran, till at length his merits ad- 
vanced him into a bishopric in the country. But though he 
had relinquished his pretensions to the government of Conaoht, 
and resolved to sequester himseU from temporal affairs, yet he 
was willing that the crown of that province should descend to 
his family ; and accordingly he used all possible endeavours to 
establish an interest, and place his younger brother in the go- 
vernment. But Guaire, by the industry of his spies, had notice 
of his preparations and designs, and imagining his reign would 
never be free from tumults and pretences, so long as Ceallach, 
who was a politic and indefatigable person, was on thi^ side the 
grave, he, by sufhcient rewards, prevailed upon three of the 
bishop's own servants to dispatch him, which they basely exe- 
cuted upon the first opportunity. Tiius fell this noble prelate, 
and accomplished the prediction of Ciaran, who foretold his 
death, which heaven inflicted for renouncing his religious vow, 
and attempting a secular life after most solemn engagements to 
the contrary. 

Diarmuid succeeded to the crown of Ireland. He waa 
^'^' the son of Feargus Ceirbiieoil, the son of Conall Creamh- 
thaine, son of Niall, the hero of the nine hostages, de- 
scended from the royal stock of Heremon, and governed the king- 
dom twenty-two years. The mother of this prmce was Corb- 

OF IRELAy/D. 355 

liach, ti.., dLiu.3ater of Maine, of the province of Leinster, and 
in his reign died the pious Tigearnach, the bishop of Cluain Eos, 
derived from the family of Daire Barach, sou of Cathaoir More. 
About the same time expired Oilioll, the son of Mortough, that 
governed the province of Leinster nine years ; in whose reign 
Cormac, the son of Oilioll, son of Muireadhach, son of Eochaidh, 
Bon of Daire Cearb, son of Oilioll Flan Beag, was king of Mun- 

The memorable battle of Cuill Conaire was fought at Ceara 
near this time, by the two princes, Feargus and Daniel^ the sons 
of Mortougb, son of Earca, where Oilioll Jonbhanda, the king 
of Conacht, and his brother Aodh Fortamhail, were unfortu- 
nately slain. In the reign of Diarmuid a most dreadful plague 
happened, that overspread the whole kingdom of Ireland, and 
made terrible devastations among the people, especially among 
the saints and the religious of the kingdom, particularly Mac 
Tuil, of Cil Cuilin, was carried off in this visitation, which, by 
way of distinction, was called Crom Chonuill. About this time 
was fought the bloody battle of Cuill, where great numbers of 
the inhabitants of the county of Cork perished ; and it is 
said, that the bad success of this engagement was owing to the 
prayers of a most pious lady, called Suidhe Midhe, that was de^ 
scended from the posterity of Fiachadh Suidhe, the son of Feidh- 
limidh Reachtmar, and occasioned the defeat, by soliciting hea- 
ven for revenge upon that people, who had injuriously treated 
her, and used her unbecoming her descent and character. The 
king of Ulster, who had governed that province twenty-two 
years, and was the first king of Dailnaruidhe, died about this 
time. The name of this prince was Eochaidh, and he was the 
son of Connla, son of Caolbhadh, son of Cruin Badhraoi, son of 
Eochaidh Cobha. Cormac, the son of Oilioll, king of Leinster, 
died under the government of Diarmuid, as did likewise that 
noted prophet Beg Mac De. 

In the same reign was born the most devout St. Molua ; he 
was the son of Sinil, son of Amergin, son of Duach, son of Eoch- 
aidh Moidhmeodhin, at which time happened the death of the 
bishop of Acha Cuingire, and St. Neasin the leper. In the 
government of this Irish monarch, the church of Cluain Feart, 
in the county of Kerry, was founded and completed by the chari- 
table bounty of St, Breannuin, who claimed his extraction from 
the posterity of Ciar, the son of Feargus. Gabhran, the king of 
Scotland, died in this year, and his enemy Gruige, the son of 
Maolchion, king of the Picts, fought successfully, and routed tho 


Scots in a pitched battle. Another eugagement about tliis lima 
was fought by Feargus and Daniel, the two sous oi Mbrtougli 
the sou of Earca, that was called the battle of Cuildreioinc, 
against Diarmuid, the son of Feargus, who was defeated with a 
terrible slaughter of his troops, and obliged to fly for his life. 
Tae unfortunate event of this action, wherein the greatest part 
of his army was lost, was the effect of the prayers ot St. Collum 
Cill. This excellent person had been reproachfully used by the 
king, who had violently put to death Curnan, the son of Hugh, 
the son of Tiormcharna, who was educated under the care and 
protection of Collum Cill ; and for this barbarous act the saiut 
applied to heaven for vengeance, which heard his prayers, and 
punished the king with the loss of his choicest forces in the 
battle before mentioned. Diarmuid was attended with the same 
ill fortune, when he fought the battle of Cuil Uinsion at Teabh- 
tha, and was driven out of the field by Hugh, the son of Breanian, 
king oi Teabhtha, where the slaughter was incredible, and scarce 
it man of the whole army remained alive. Collum Cill, after 
this defeat, removed into Scotland, to a place called Hoide Collum 
Cill, and now he was about forty-three years of age. Soon after 
he arrived in that country, a most desperate battle was fought, 
by Clanna Neill, in a part of the highlands, called the fight of 
Monadoire, where seven petty kings of the Picts, with the flower 
of their army, were left dead upon the field of battle. About 
this time died Colman More, the son of Cairbre, son of Dunluing, 
v/ho had governed the province of Leinster for thirty years. 

There is an account in a very ancient chronicle, that in the 
seventh year of the reign of Diarmuid, king of Ireland, a poor 
woman, who was a nun, and had vowed a religious life, called 
Sionach Cro, applied herself to the kmg, complaining of the 
great injury she had received from Guaire, the son 6f Colman, 
who had violently forced from her a cow, that was the only 
means of her subsistence. This injury was so resented by Diar- 
muid, that he selected a strong body of his troops, and directed 
his march towards the River Shannon, and encamped upon the 
banks of the stream. Guaire had soon notice of his preparations 
and his march, and, with a much less number of forces, resolved 
to justify what he had done by the sword; and leading his 
men towards the banks of the Shannon, he faced the king's 
troops on the other side. In this posture of defiance the two 
armies were drawn out; but Guaire, doubting of success, dis- 
patched Cumin, one of his favourites, to Diarmuid, to desire he 
would not attempt to cross the river with hli forces within tha 


space of twenty four hoTir?. The king promised that he woull 
not, and told the messenger, that his request was but of small 
importance, for he was assured of victory, depending not only 
upon the justice of his cause, but the number and experienced 
bravery of his forces. Diarmuid, as he had engaged, continued 
in his encampment till the next morning, upon the east side of 
the river, and Guaire upon the west. 

Cumin having intelligence of the number of the king's troops, 
was averse to an engagement, and, desiring to persuade Guairo 
to make his peace by a timely submission, he expostulated with 
him upon the uncertainty of the success, and wondered he would 
attempt to come to a battle under so great disadvantages ; but 
Guaire, no ways discouraged, for his personal bravery was never 
questioned, replied, that victory was not always the consequcuca 
of numbers, but depended upon the disposal of heaven, whicli 
often bestows success upon a few, and defeated a multitude j and 
that he was satisfied in the courage of his soldiers, and thereforj 
he determined to face the enemy, and leave the event to Provi- 
dence. In this enterprise Guaire was attended by theprincipil 
nobility and gentry of the provinces of Munster and Conacht, 
who raised what forces they were able, and came to his assistance. 
And now the two armies, drawn out in order of battle upon the 
banks of the Shannon, attempted to recover the opposite side, 
but the provincial troops were unable to oppose the undaunted 
resolution of the king's army, which plunged into the stream, 
and with incredible difficulty forced their way ; and notwith- 
standing Guaire, with all the conduct of an able and experienced 
general, attempted to hinder their landing, his forces were de- 
feated with a dreadful slaughter, and the few that remained fiod 
for their lives. 

The misfortune of this battle is attributed to the impcrtunata 
prayers of St. Caimin, who founded and consecrated the churcii 
of luis Cealtrach ; for that holy person, as the chronicles inform 
us, had spent three days and three nights in devotion, and im- 
ploring heaven to blast the designs of Guaire, and to confound 
his army. This St. Caimin was a lineal descendant from tho 
posterity of Fiachadh Baiceada, the son of Cathaoir More ; and 
when Guaire was informed, before the engagement, that St. Cai- 
min was supplicating upon his knees against his success, and 
professed himself an enemy to his cause, he applied himself to 
the saint, and with great humility asking his pardon, and la- 
menting the misfortune of his displeasure, he entreated him to 
be reconciled, and to pray for his victory : but the saint re- 

3/>8 THE gen"Fjral history 

mained inexorable, and told him, that his overthrow and the 
destruction of his army was determined, and the decree of 
heaven could not be revoked. 

After the defeat of the provincial troops, Guaire had no se- 
curity for his life but a secret and swift flight, and therefore he 
made his way through woods and solitary places, without any 
attendants, till he came to a small cell, where no person lived 
but a religious woman, who had retired thither for the benefit 
of devotion. When the woman saw him she inquired after his 
name, and the business that brought him into that unfrequented 
solitude ; he concealed his name, and told her that he was a 
friend to Guaire, who had been routed by the king's troops, and 
was obliged to fly to preserve his life. The woman replied that 
she was sorry for the defeat of Guaire, who was a prince of that 
goodness, bounty, and charity, as to deserve a better fortune ; 
and after she had enlarged upon the accomplishments and the 
calamities of the general, she welcomed him into her apartment, 
promised fidelity in concealing him, and supplied him with ne- 
cessary accommodations, as far as her abilities and the circum- 
stances of the place would permit. But this pious woman, 
concerned that the meanness of her provision was unsuitable to 
the quality of her guest, went to an adjacent brook, in order 
to procure some fish for the entertainment of the prince, and 
by good fortune espying a salmon, which of herself she was. 
unable to catch, she returned to her cell, and joyfully relating 
her success, she desired him to go with her to the river, and 
assist her to catch the fish : he willingly followed her to the 
place, they drew the salmon out of the water, and Guaire, who 
was used to keep a splendid table, and generally consumed 
among his household ten oxen at a meal, made a supper of only 
the fish with great cheerfulness and satisfaction, and expressed 
his gratitude to Providence, and to the piety of his host, for hia 
unexpected relief. The next morning the prince left the cell, 
and, wandering through the woods, met with a body of his troops 
who had survived the defeat ; they received him with great joy, 
and he put himself at the head of them : a council of war was 
immediately called, and the debate was, whether the prince 
should again try his fortune, and recruit his forces, or submit to 
the victor with his whole army 1 After several arguments were 
offered on both sides, it was concluded, that a general submis- 
sion best became the unfortunate posture of their affairs ; and 
Guaire, convinced of this advice, led his broken forces, and 
resolved to make his peace with the conquerors upon any terms. 


Approaching the royal army, Guaire sent a messenger to 
offer his submission, which was accepted, and promising to 
lay down his arms, he was admitted into the presence of the 
king; he immediately fell upon his knees, and delivered up 
his sword into the king's hand, who obliged him to hold the 
point of it between his teeth, and in that humble posture he 
confessed disloyalty and the unwarrantableness of his designs, 
and bound himself by the most solemn obligations to atone for 
his miscarriages, by his future fidelity and obedience. 

It was observed before, that Guaire was a person of the most 
exemplary goodness and extensive charity ; and the king, sus- 
pecting the integrity of his outward virtues, resolved to make 
a trial while he had him at his mercy, who still continued upon 
his knees, lamenting his misfortune, and supplicating pardon. 
And for this purpose the king commanded an eminent druid, 
who always attended near his person, to ask some favour of 
Guaire, to try whether his charity and his great bounty pro- 
ceeded from a principle of religion and goodness, or were the 
effect of a desire of popularity and ostentation. The druid 
obeyed his orders, and implored the charity of the unhappy 
prince, and begged he would bestow something upon him for 
the sake of his profession ; but Guaire, suspecting his design, 
refused his request, being convinced that he was supported by 
the king, and could be under no necessity to desire his relief. 
Upon this repulse, a man, grievously afflicted with the leprosy, 
and a very miserable object, was sent to Guaire, who solicited 
his charity, and begged alms for God's sake. Tiiis, he sup- 
posed was an unhappy person worthy of his compassion, and 
accordingly, being incapable to relieve him any other Wciy, he 
gave him the silver bodkin that stuck in his vest. The poor 
man retired with great gratitude, and applied to heaven for a 
blessing upon his benefactor ; but the bodkin was taken from 
him by the king's order, and the leper returned to Guaire, to 
acquaint him of his misfortune, and again to entreat his charity. 
Upon his return, the good prince, affected with the relation and 
barbarity of the act, resolved to supply his wants to the utmost 
of his ability, and bestowed upon him a golden girdle of great 
value, that Y>^as tied about his waist. It was gratefully accepted 
by the beggar ; but before he had gone far it was taken from 
him, by the king's command, which forced him to return again 
to the unhappy prince, who continued still upon his knees, 
with the point of the sword between his teeth, the king holding 
the hilt in his hand. When the leper had related the cruel cir- 


cumstanco of his usage, he implored hh farther relief ; upoi\ 
which the compassionate Guaire, who had nothing more that ho 
could bestow, was so concerned, that he burst out into a flood of 
tears. The king, observing him in this affliction, demanded the 
occasion of it, and asked him whether his sorrow and concern 
proceeded from the calamity of his affairs; because he had made 
his submission, and lay at his mercy, who had the power of tha 
sword, and was able, if he pleased, instantly to dispatch him. 

Guaire replied, that bis melancholy fortune was the least sub- 
ject of his grief, which arose wholly from reflecting on the dis- 
tress ot the miserable leper, and the incapacity of his condition 
to afford him relief. The king immediately commanded him to 
rise from the ground, and, being convinced of the humanity of 
his nature, and the sincerity of his virtue, generously receive . I 
him into his friendship, and promised never to require any sub- 
jection from him, being sensible there was an Almighty Sove- 
reign, to whom he himself owed homage, and whose vicegerent 
he was in the administration of his government. 

The two kings being reconciled, entered into a strict league, 
and bound themselves in the most solemn manner not to violate 
their engagements. The king of Ireland invited Guaire to go 
with him to the great fair of Tailtean, which was the general 
mart ot the whole kingdom ; and to convince him of the sin- 
cerity of his affection, among other testimonies of his esteem, 
he promised to settle the succession upon him, and resolved to 
confirm the crown to him after his decease. The two princes, 
with a noble retinue, came to Tailtean, and Guaire carried with 
him a great quantity of money, to dispose of in acts of charity, 
and upon other occasions, as opportunity offered ; but Diarmuiil, 
understanding the generosity of his nature, and that his bounty 
admitted no limits, gave ^^ecret orders through the whole fair, 
that no person shonid presume, on any account, to apply to 
Guaire for his charity, or receive a gratuity from his hand^. 
Three days after his arrival, Guaire, perceiving no miserabb 
object to implore his relief, and being informed that the king had 
forbidden, by a strict injunction, that no person should beg alms 
of him, was so dejected, that he desired the king to allow him 
the attendance of a good bishop, to whom he might confess, 
and from whose hands he might rec3ive absolution and the holy 
ointment. The king surprised, asked " him, what he intended 
by this request ? ho answered, that his death, he was certain, 
was approaching j because he was unable to live without exer- 
cifc^jng his charity, which his royal mandate had absolutely pat 


out of his power to do. The king immediately revoked hia 
order, and by that means opened a way for the bounty of his 
royal companion, who, besides the large sums he expended in 
relieving the poor, with great generosity encouraged the men of 
learning in all professions, and by his benefactions procured 
the applause of the most eminent poets and antiquaries of the 
kingdom. There is an account in an ancient manuscript, the 
credit of which may perhaps be questioned, that the hand with 
•which he extended his charity to the poor, was longer than that 
which bestowed his gifts upon men of learning. The king of 
Ireland proposed the succession of Guaire to the nobility and 
gentry of the kingdom, who confirmed his title with public de- 
monstrations of joy ; and this mutual affection and esteem con- 
tinued inviolable between the two princes, till death dissolved 
their engagements, and put an end to their friendship. 

The Irish annals give an account that Guaire had a brother, 
"who devoted himself to a religious life, whose name was Mo- 
chua. This holy person observed all the fasts of the Church 
with great obedience ; and, designing to abstain from his com- 
mon diet, and to eat no more than what was absolutely neces- 
sary to support nature, during the time of Lent, he retired for 
that purpose to a fountain of pure spring water, that lay south- 
wards of Boirin, at the distance of five miles from Durlus 
Guaire ; and he had no person to attend upon him but a clergy- 
man of a lower order, whom he retained to say mass, vin this 
retirement these votaries observed great abstinence and regu- 
larity in their eating and drinking, and their custom was, to re- 
fresh themselves with no more thai> one meal a day ; which con- 
sisted of the meanest provisions, a small quantity of coarse bar- 
ley bread with water-cresses, and sprmg water from the fountain. 
In this manner they spent the time of Lent till Easter-day, 
which festival the holy Mochua resolved to observe with the 
strictest devotion and reverence, and therefore he celebrated the 
mass himself, and performed other ofiices that belonged to the 
solemnity of the occasion ; but his clerk, who attended upon 
him, was so tired with feeding upon herbs and such slender pro- 
visions, that he interrupted the saint before the prayers were 
over, and longed so impatiently to eat flesh, that he cesired his 
master to give him leave, to go to Durkis, to the court of GuairO, 
king of Conacht, and refresh and satisfy himself with flesh ; 
for he was no longer able to support nature by that absterai'u.s 
method he had used, and by a way of living that his constitu- 
tion wculd not permit Mochua did not oppose the rea^onablc- 



ness of his request, but persuading him to be pafisnt and ro« 
signed, he told him lie would supply him with flesh without 
undertaking such a journey, for he would supplicate heaven iu 
his behalf, and he was assured that his prayers would have the 
desired effect, and supply his wants ; accordingly he prostrated 
liimseh, and most importunately called upon God, imploring his 
bountiful hand to provide flesh for his servant, who had fasted 
the time ot Lent with strict reverence, and was unable to pre- 
serve his health without immediate reliei. 

At that very instant it happened, (as some particular manu- 
scripts relate, but with small truth I am afraid,) that the ser- 
vants of Guaire, king of Conacht, were laying his dinner upon 
the table ; and to the great surprise of the attendants, the dishes 
were hurried away by an invisible power, and conveyed directly 
to the solitary cell, where Mochua was continuing his devotion, 
and his clerk expecting the event. The prince, with his whole 
court, was amazed at this wonderful accident ; and, enraged at 
th-e loss and disappointment of his dinner, he orci'ered a body of 
hirf horse guards to pursue the disjes travelling vu the air, and 
he followed, with the principal oi his nobility, resolving to re- 
cover them and bring them back to his court at Darius. 

It seems beneath the gravity as well as. the dignity of an his. 
torian, to take notice of these legendary relations, which are 
certain rather to move the indignation and spleen than the be- 
lief of the reader ; but it must be considered, that the times 
ve are writing of abounded with incredible relations, and the 
writers ot those ages were always raising the characters of the 
Baints, even to miracles, not foreseeing the disadvantage they 
bring to religion, which, instead of recommending it to the 
world, they ridicule and expose. And in the present case it can- 
not be supposed, that the transaction we are speaking of is put 
upon the least foot ot credibility, but designed only to keep the 
thread of our history entire, and to give light to some material inci- 
dents, which otherwise would be obscure, and perhaps not easily 
to be accounted for. But to go on with our story : 

When the dishes arrived at the cell, they presented themselves 
with great submission before the devout Mochua and his clerk, 
and after the saint had returned thanks to the bounty of hea- 
ven for so miraculous a supply, he desired his servant, that waa 
so carnally inclined, to fall to and eat heartily. The clerk had 
Bcarce put bit in his mouth, but looking about him he spied 
a great company of horsemen advancing upon fall speed, and 
making towards them. He was terribly affrighted at the sight, 


and, lamenting the voracity of hia appetite, he told his master, 
that he wished the dishes had stayed at home ; for he was afraid 
they came with au evil design, and would certainly bring them 
into some misfortune. Mochua comforted his timorous clerk, 
and assured him, that it was his brother Guaire, the king of Con- 
acht, with his retinue, that was pursuing the meat ; and to keep 
up his appetite, he engaged that they should not be able to move 
a step nearer, before he had filled himself, and eaten as much as 
he thought fit : and accordingly, the saint having offered up a 
short petition to heaven, the feet of the horses stuck last in the 
ground, and the riders remained immoveable upon their backs, 
and had no power to stir a step before the hungry clerk had sa- 
tisfied himself, and made a good meal of it. When he had dined, 
the saint addressed himself to God for the relief ol' the pursuers, 
and the hor^ses immediately found themselves released, and the 
company, overcome with wonder and astonishment, advanced^ 
and presented themselves before the saint. 

Guaire and his retinue found the devout Mochua upon hia 
knees : and he immediately quitted his horse, and in the most 
submissive manner entreated his compassion, and desired hi3 
benedicton. Tiie saint gave him his blessing and his |)ardon, 
and desired him and his attendants to tall to and eat their din- 
ner in that place ; they joyfully complied with the invitation, 
and without more ceremony they consumed most of the provi- 
si :n, and when they had reverently taken their leave ot Mochua, 
Guaire, with his guards and his followers, returned to his palace 
at Durlus. Whatever share ot credit or contempt this relation 
may meet with, it is most certain, that the road leading from 
Durlus to the fountain where St. Mochua and his clerk retired 
to fast, during the time of Lent, which is the length of fiva 
miles, is known to this day in the Irish language by the nam 3 
ot Bothur na Mias, which in the English signiiies the Dishes' 

In this place, it must be observed, that some of the ancient 
chronicles assert, that Eogan More had another son besides 
Fiachadh Muilleathan, whose name was Diarmuid ; and tlie 
same authority informs us, that St. BGacan,'who consecrated the 
church of Cill Beacan in Aluskry Guirc, was a descendant from 
the posterity of that Diarmuid, from whom likewise the anti' 
quaries allow, were derived Oilioil Flan More, OilioU Flan B3g, 
and Deachluath. Upon the excractiou ojt thjse persons, an old 
poet composed the following verses ; 


The holy Bcaclian from Dlarmuid 
Descended, aud from the same progenitor 
Sprung OilioU Flanmore, a most; renowned piiaca 
Oilioll Flan Beg, and Deachluath. 

About this time it was that Breasal, the son of Diarmuid, 
king of Ireland^ resolved to invite his father, and the principal 
nobility of his court, to a magnificent entertainment, which he 
designed to furnish in the most sumptuous manner at Ceananus 
ia Meath ; among other dishes for the feast he proposed to have 
a large piece of beef of exceeding fatness, and examining his 
own cattle for this purpose, he found them so lean, that they 
-were not fit to be killed, especially upon so public an occasion. 
Under this disappointment he was informed that a religious 
woman had a cow that would suit his design ; but when he ap- 
plied to her to purchase the beast, she absolutely refused to sell 
Ler, and when she could not be prevailed upon to exchange her 
for suven cows and a bull that were offered, Breasal drove her 
away by violence, and killed her for the entertainment. This 
poor woman lived at Cill Ealchruidhe. The king of Ireland, 
with his courtiers and his royal retinue, came to the feast ; and 
when they were in the height of their mirth, this injured woman 
forced herself into the room, and in the most affecting manner 
complained of Breasal to the king, and representing the circum- 
stances of the wrong she had suffered, most passionately de- 
manded justice. Diarmuid was so moved at the violence offered 
to her, and so highly resented the baseness of his son, that he 
was in a rage, and vowed he would revenge the injury, and put 
his son to death for the fact. Accordingly he commanded him 
to be seized, and taken into strict custody, and dragging him to 
the river Loch Iluidhe, he ordered him to be drowned, which 
unnatural sentence was immediately executed. 

So far this story may deserve belief; but what follows, without 
doubt, was foisted in by the credulous writers of those dark ages, 
who were for heaping miracles upon the backs of their saints, 
which the present times are not expected to give credit to. But 
those obscure guides are the only authority we have to direct us, 
and therefore we are obliged to comply with the coarseness of 
our materials, and proceed regularly, lest our design should suf- 
ier more by omitting these legendary relations, than it possibly 
can by inserting them in the history. 

Tne king having indulged his passion so far as to destroy his 

B.)n, in his calmer moments began to Liiuent his lo:iS, and to cou- 

CJiu himseit for the sudden vioLeacc of his resentment. * He 


was perfectly overcome with melancholy, .ind when he rellecfcad 
upon his death, the thoughts of it were insupportable. In this 
distracted condition he applied himself to Collum Cill, who 
advised him to go to St. Beacan, who lived in the province of 
Munster, and possibly from the prayers of that holy person h3 
might find relief The king followed this advice, and, attended 
by Collum Cill, came to the saint, who resided in a mean cell, 
upon the north side of mount Grott, which at this time is known 
in the Irish language by the name of Cill Beacan. When they 
arrived they found the saint with great labour digging a ditclx 
to surround his churchyard, and working in his wet clothes, foe 
it was a rainy day. \Yhen St. Beacan percoived that it was 
the king of Ireland, he cried out to him aloud, " murderer, 
down to the ground upon your knees." The king instantly 
quitted his horse, and prostrated himself before the saint, 
Collum Cill, who attended upon the king, informed the holy 
Beacan of the business they came upon, and told him that tha 
king was almost distracted with reflecting upon the barbarity of 
the act he had committed, and had no relief left him but his 
prayers to heaven, that God would be pleased to pardon him tho 
offence, and restore him his son alive ; and therefore he pre- 
sumed that £0 religious a person would not refuse to intercede 
for him, since his life and happiness were so immediately con- 
cerned. The saint was moved with compassion, and addressed 
himself three times with great fervency to heaven, for the re* 
storing of the young prince, and heaven heard his prayers, for, 
as the legend relates, the king's son was brought to life and 
presented to his father, who received him with inexpressible joy, 
and ever after held the saint in great veneration, whose devo- ' 
tion had power sufficient to work such wonders, and accomplish 
&o miraculous an event. 

The Irish chronicles go on and entertain us with transactions 
of no great importance, yet not so trifling as to be wholly 
omitted. They inform us that Guaire, the son of Colman, king 
of Conacht, Cuimin Fada, son of Fiaohadh, and Camin of Ini:i 
Cealtrach, met a,t the great church of Inis, where it was agreed 
that three questions were to be proposed among them, and were 
to be severally answered. Camin was appointed to ask the first, 
and demanded of Guaire what he most passionately wished to 
be possessed of in this world ? His answer was, an immense 
treasuf-e of gold and silver. Then Guaire proposed to him what 
was t^e utmost of his wishes and desires? He replied, to their 
great surprise, a languishing and distempered body. The next 

U -Z 


question was offered by Guaire to Cuimin, who asked him A\hat 
he would wish to obtaia ? He replied, a number of pious and 
learned books, to make me capable of discovering the truth to 
the people, and instructing them in the doctrines of religion. 
It is said they all severally obtained their desires ; particularly 
we are informed that Gamin ended his days miserably, his body 
being sorely afiiicted with pains and diseases, being under the 
curse oi St. Mochua, who, as the Irish annals relate, implored 
heaven to punish him with the most dreadful visitations. 

Guaire, the son of Cohnan, received provocations from the 
people of Munster, which he resolved to revenge by the sword ; 
find, after he had completed three battalions of choice troops, 
raised in Conacht, entered the province of Munster, with great 
terror and loss to the inhabitants. The king of Cashel at that 
time was Dioma, the son of Roanan, son of Aongus, who vras 
followed by a gallant army, and resolved to oppose the hostili- 
ties oi Guaire, and drive him into his own territories. Tne 
two armies met at a place called Magh Figinty, now known by 
the name of the heart or middle oi the country of Limerick, 
where the two princes with great courage engaged at Carn 
Fearaidhaidh, and a terrible slaughter was made on both sides; 
but Guaire was at length compelled to fly, and most of his forces 
were slain upon the spot. In this action were lost seven of the 
principal gentlemen of the province of Gonacht, The cause 
that induced Guaire to invade the province of Munster was, to 
support his pretensions to all the territories from mount Eacht- 
uidhe to Limerick, which originally belongedto the old division 
of Conacht, but was separated from that province by Lughaidh 
Meoin, the son of Aongus Tireach, who defeated the forces of 
Conacht in seven successive battles j in which terrible engage- 
ments, which were sharply disputed on both sides, seven king3 
were slain, who fought with great bravery, and unfortunately 
idil at the head of their troops. Lughaidn was at length so re- 
duced, that the remaining part of his army consisted of raw 
undisciplined men; scarce of age, and of small experience ; so 
that he made sv^^rds land of all the country from Beirn Tri 
Garbat, by Cai^ 1^'earaidhaidh, to B3alach Luchaidhe, and from. 
Ath Boiroimhe, to Lein Congculoinn^ as the ancient poet Cor- 
mac Mac Guillenan observes, m the following manner ; 

The marilal pvlnce L.Tigliaidli Lamlidearg, 

Was crovvn'd -with victory, aud by his arms ^ 

Coutvacted the old liaiits of the province, 


And took from Conaclit all the territories " 
From Cam Fearaidhaidli to Ath Lucliat. 

St. Mochua and St. Collum Cill lived in the same age, and, 
as a manuscript of some credit, though of small importance, 
relates, when Mochua, who was likewise known by the name of 
Mac Duach, was retired into the wilderness for the benefit of 
bis devotion, he had no living creatures about him except a 
cock, a mouse, and a fly. The use of the cock was to give him 
notice of the time of night by his crowing, that he might know 
when to apply himself to his prayers : the mouse, it seems, had 
his proper office, which was, to prevent the saint from sleeping 
above five hours within the space of twenty-four ; for when the 
business of his devotion, which he exercised with great reverence 
and regularity upon his knees, had so fatigued his spirits, that 
they required a longer refreshment, and Mochua was willing to 
indulge himself, the mouse would come to his ears, and scratch 
him with its feet till he was perfectly awake : the fly always at- 
tended upon him when he was reading ; it had the sense, it 
seems, to walk along the lines of the book, and when the saint 
had tired his eyes and was willing to desist, the fly would stay 
upon the first letter of the next sentence, and by that means 
direct him where he was to begin. An excellent monitor ! but 
as fate would have it, these three sensible creatures unfortunately 
died, which was an afiliction of that consequence to the saint, 
that he immediately dispatched a letter to Collum Cill, who was 
then in Scotland, lamenting the death of his companions, and 
entreated a proper message from him to support him in his 
sorrow. Collum Cill received the news with Christian magna- 
nimity, and returned this comfortable answer, that he ought to 
mitigate his griei, for misfortunes attend upon all sublunary 
things j that his three companions were mortal, and subject to 
the inexorable stroke oi death, and therefore it became him not 
to be surprised, or in an immoderate manner to lament their 
departure. Not long after this it was, that Diarmuid, the son. 
ot Feargus, king oi Ireland, fell by the sword of Hugh Dubh 
Mac Swyny, at a place called Kath Beag, in Muighlirs, and was 
buired at Cuinnirry. 

Feargus and his brother Daniel were the succeeding 
Q^r.' monarchs. They were the sons of Mortaugh, sou of 
Earcha, son of Muireadhach, son of Eogan, son of Niall, 
the renowned hero of the nine hostages, descended from the 
posterity of Ileremon. These brothers governed the island 
without jealousy or dispute, for the space of one year. The 


mother of these princes was Duinseach, the daughter of Duach 
Teangabha, king of Conacht. These kingo were obliged to en- 
gage with the inhabitants of Leinster, and they fought the me- 
morable battle of Gabhrah LifFe with the subjects of that pro- 
vince, who in the action lost 400 of the principal nobility and 
gentry of the country, together with the greatest part of their 
whole army. About this time Dioman Mac Muireadhach, who 
governed the province of Ulster ten years, was unfortunately 
killed by Bachlachuibb. Feargus and Daniel died soon after ; 
but whether they fell by an untimely stroke, as did most of their 
predecessors, it is impossible at this distance to determine. 

Eochaidh, the son of Daniel, was the next successor in 
^;I^* the throne x)f Ireland : he was the son of Mortough, 
son of Earca. This prince admitted with him into the 
government his uncle Baodan, son of Mortough, sou of Earca, 
descended from the illustrious line of Heremon, and they go- 
verned the island three years. In the reign of these princes it 
was, that Cairbre Crom, the son of Criomthan Sreibh, son of 
Eochaidh, son of Nadfraoch, who was king over the province of 
Munster, departed the present life. This martial prince fought 
the battle of Feimhiu, agaitist Colman Beag, the son of Diarmuid, 
and defeated him, with a terrible slaughter of the greatest part 
of his forces : the victor was distinguished by the name of Cair- 
bre Crom, because he was nursed and educated at a place called 
Cromgluisse. About this time died, as some of the ancient re- 
cords of the kingdom inform us, Breannuin Biorra, who lived to 
the age of nine score years ; as a poet of great antiquity and 
good credit has transmitted to us in the following verges : 

Happy the man whom Providence preserves 

To the long life of Breannuin Biorra, , 

Who lived in plenty and prosperity 

A hundred and eighty years, and then he died 


Some time after this, Fiachadh, the son of Baodhan, engageii 
in the bloody battle of Folia and Forthola, against the inhabi- 
tants of the counties of Ely and Ossory, and obtained a complete 
victory, by slaying incredible numbers of the enemy. In the 
reign of these kings died Conull, son of Comhguill, the comman- 
der of the Dailriada, in Scotland, after he had governed that il- 
lustrious tribe for the space of sixteen years. This Scottish 
general bestowed Aoii in that kingdom upon Collum Cill. These 
Irish princes, Eochaidh and Baodhan, were slain by Crouan, tho 
Bon of Tiaghernaig, king of Conachta Glinne Geimhin. 


Aiiimet-eacli was tbe succeeding m'Onarcli. He was the 
^.^\ ' son of Seadlina, son of Feargus Ceanfada, sou of Conull 

Gulban, son of Niall, the hero of the nine hostages, de- 
scended from the royal branch of Heremonj and administered the 
government three years. The wife of this prince was Bridget, 
the daughter of Cobhthach, the son of Oiliolla, descended from 
the noble family of the Leinsters of .Ard Ladhran, by whom he 
had a prince whose name was Hugh. Ainmereach, after a short 
reign^ was deprived of his crown and of his life by Feargus Mac 
Neil, at Carrig Leime an Eich. 
^.-„ Baodan sat next upon the throne of Ireland. Ke 

was the son of Nineadhadh, son of Feargus Ceannfada, 
son of Conull Gulban, son of Niall, the hero of the nine hos- 
tages, descended from the posterity of Heremon, and governed 
the island one year. The royal consort of this prince was Cacht, 
the daughter of the king of Fionngall : and in this king's reign 
it was, that St. Breanuiu of Cluain Feart was translated to a 
better life. About this time was fought the bloody conflict of 
Bagha, in which eno;agement Aodh, the son of Eochaidh Tiorm- 
charnadh, king of Conacht, was slain. The reign of this Irish 
monarch was memorable for the death of the renowned Cairbre 
Crom, king of Muuster, and of Baodan, king of Ulster, and 
likewise of St. Ruadhan Lothra, derived from the family of Oili- 
olla Flan Beg, the son of Fiacha Muilleathan. Baodan, the king 
of Ireland, after one year's reign, was treacherously slain by the 
two Cuimins, that is, by Cuimin, son of Colman Beag, and 
Cuimin, the son of Libhrein, at a place called Carrig Leime an 
Eich. It is proper to observe in this place, that the venerable 
Bede, in the fourth chapter of the third book of his English his- 
tory asserts, that St. Collum Cill removed into Scotland in the 
year of our redemption 565.. 
f.^^ ' Aodh, or Hugh, obtained^ the crown. He was the son 

of Ainmereach, son of Seadhna, son of Feargus Ceannfada, 
son of Conull Gulban, son of Niall, the hero of the nine 
hostages, of the royal line ot Heremon. The mother of this 
prince, as was observed before, was Bridget, the daughter oi 
Cobhthach. This Irish monarch had a long reign of twenty- 
seven years, and he fought the noted battle of Beallach Dathi, 
where he obtained a signal victory, and slew Colman Beag, tho 
son of Diarmuid, and 5000 of the enenay were left dead upon the 
spot : by this means the prophecy of Collum Cill, who particu- 
larly predicted this defeat, was accomplished. In the reign of 
Hugh, the pious Seanagh, the bishop of Cluainioraird, departed 


the pres2rifc life ; and during his govGrnmenf'it was, that Fi* 
achadh, the son of Baodan, son of Muireadhach, who governed 
the province of Ulster twenty-five years, was killed by the sword 
of Fiachadh, the son of Deamain, in the battle of Beathadh ; 
about which time died Feidhlim, the son of Tighernach, king of 

This Irisli king summoned, by his royal mandate, the princes, 
the nobility, anil the clergy of the kingdom, to meet at the par- 
liament of Dromceat ; he had three reasons which induced him 
to appoint this convention, but the principal occasion was, to 
concert proper measures to expel and banish a numerous body 
of men, who were called poets, out of the island : these profes- 
sors were become very chargeable to the inhabitants, and being 
01 a covetous disposition, were a grievance insupportable to tha 
people ; and upon account of the privileges and immunities 
enjoyed by these versifiers, from the indulgence of former kings, 
a third part of the whole kingdom passed under the notion of 
poets, and professed themselves regular members of that society ; 
for it was a plausible cover to idleness and ease, it being or- 
dained by law, that they should be supported by other men's 
labours, and billeted upon the people throughout the island 
from AllhalloW'tide till May. This grievance being represented 
to the king, he resolved to reduce their number by expelling 
most ol them the kingdom, and by that means to redress this 
insufferable imposition, and satisfy the desires of his subjects. 

But the great reason that incensed this monarch against ths 
poets, and provoked him to drive them out of the island wa-', 
for their insolence in demanding the golden bodkin that fastened 
the royal robes under the king's neck, and was esteemed so sa- 
cred and unalienable, that it was carefully delivered down from 
one prince to another, as a royal jewel of singular worth ♦and 
virtue. Tiiis unprecedented demand enraged the king, but he 
considered it might be of bad conseouence to banish them the 
kingdom, and therefore he resolved to confine them to Dallriada, 
in the province ot Ulster. 

It must be observed that this was not the first time the poets 
fell under the resentment of the Irish princes ; for in the reign 
ot Connor Mac Neasa, king of Ulster, who reigned many years 
before Hugh came to the throne, there was a design to prosecute 
the poets with the utmost severity of law and justice ; for they 
had, by their behaviour, rendered themselves so obnoxious to 
the state, and so burthensome to the people, that there was no 
possibility of appeasing the inhabitants without expelling theia 


the iislaiid. But wlien this resolution of the government was 
known to the poets, the whole body of them, which amounted 
to one thousand, met to concert measures to preserve themselves 
from the impending storm : nor are we to wonder that they 
were increased to so great a number ; for every principal poet, 
for a mark of distinction, retained thirty of inferior note as his 
attendants, and a poet of*the second order was always followed 
by a retinue of fifteen. In this convention of poets, after many 
debates, it was resolved to leave the island before the sentence 
of t*heir banishment was pronounced, and retire into Scotland. 
When the king of Ulster understood their design, he thought it 
Trould be inexpedient to transport themselves into that king- 
dom, and therefore he sent to them Congculion, one of his 
£AVOurites, with a commission to treat with the malcontents, 
and allow them a continuance of seven years in the country, as 
a' time of probation ; and if they did not reform their conduct 
before the time expired, they were to be finally banished. Ail 
ancient poet has recorded t!iis transaction in this manner r 

Connor, llie most reno-vvned king of Ulster, , 

A friend to arts, a patron to tlie learned, 

Protected by his great authority 

The poets for seven years, who liv'd in peac« 

Throughout the island. 

Within the time allowed, the poets by degrees found means 
to disperse themselves over the whole nation, and gave no un- 
easiness to the people ; so that they lived unmolested till the 
reign of Fiachadh, the son of Baodan, king of Ulster, and from 
the time of Fiachadh, to Maolchabha, son of Diomain, son of 
Carril, who governed the same province, and so they continued 
unpersecuted, till Hugh, the son of Ainmereach, became mo- 
narch of the i&land. Three several times this profession of men 
Lad rendered themselves offensive and insufferable to the people, 
who represented their oppression to the state, and petitioned 
for their expulsion j but they were still protected by the medi- 
ation of the kings of Ulster, who received them into that pro- 
vince, and were answerable for their behaviour. When the first 
attempt was made towards their banishment, Connor, king of 
Ulster, interposed, mid pro^fessed himself their patron and advo- 
cate, and reprieved their punishment for seven years, notwith- 
Btauding they were above a thousand in number. The second 
persecution they brought themselves under, was taken ofi by 
the interest and authority of Fiachadh, the son qa Baodan, who 


governed the same province, and entertained tbem for tho spaco 
of one year ; for by this time their number was reduced, the 
whole body amounting to no more than seven hundred, with an 
eminent poet at the head of them, called ^Eochaidh Riogh Eigcas, 
as another poet has recorded in this manner : 

The learned Eocliaidh Riogh "Eigeas, 

The celebrated poet of the age, 

With all his followers of the same profession, 

Were kindly entertain'd by Fiachadh, . . 

And saved from punishment. 

The third design to expel the poets was prevented by the sea- 
sonable intercession of Maolchabha, king of Ulster, who re- 
ceived them into his favour, and saved them from banishment ; 
for at this time they made a considerable figure in the kingdom 
by their numbers, which increased daily, and amounted com- 
pletely to 1200. The principal poets, who had a sort of a juris- 
diction over the rest, were Dalian, t*orguill. and Seanchan. This 
deliverance of the poets is recorded in the following lines : 

The valiant Maolchabha, king of Ulster, 
From exile sav'd, by his authority, 
The poets of the island ; in his province 
He entertain'd them, abandon'd and forlorn, 
As the groat patron of the Irish miise. 

The second reason that pre-^-'.'lei upon the king to summon, 
by his royal mandate, the great assembly of Dromceat, was, in 
order to settle a constant tribute upon the tribe of the Dail- 
riads in Scotland, who owed homage to the crown of Ireland, 
and paid an acknowledgment, called Eiric, which signifies ransom 
or kindred money, to the king. This tax was first laid upon 
tbem by Colman, the son of Comhgealladh ; but they had of 
late refused to contribute their proportion, which Hugh, tho 
reigning monarch was resolved to insist upon, and accordingly 
the matter was fully debated in this convention. Colman, who 
first obliged them to be tributaries to the Irish, has taken notice 
of their subjection in this manner : 

The Daih'iads, I ordain, shall pay 
Eiric, as tribute to the Irish crown, 
And with their troops endeavour to support 
T he king by sea and land. 

The third occasion for which Hugh assembled this convention 


of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom was, to deprive Scan- 
Ian More, the son of Cionfhaoladb, of the command of Osserj, 
who had refused to pay the reveaue arising from that country 
into the public exchequer, and converted it to his own use. His 
post and authority the king designed to confer upon Jollan, tha 
son of Scanlan, who was exceedingly well qualified to govern that 
people, and gave security to the king that he would be punctual 
in the payment of the taxes laid upon him. These were the 
reasons for which the king convened this parliament of Drom- 
ceat, as these ancient, lines expressly testify ; 

The Irisli monarch siimmon'd by his writs 

The parliament of Droniceat ; the subjects in debate 

Were, the expulsion of the poets, the ancient tribiJie 

Of the Dailriads, and the just deposing 

Of Scanlau, prince of Ossery. 

Having mentioned the^couventioa of Dromoeat, and the occa- 
sion of their meetings, it may not be improper to give a parti- 
cular account of the members of .that assembly, which consisted 
of the princes, and the principal nobility and gentry of tb.e 
kingdom. There met, upon the summons from the king 
Cr'omhthan Gear, king of Leinster; Jollan, son of Scanlan, king 
of Ossery j Maolduin, son of Aodhna or Hugh Beannain, king of 
West Munster ; Guaire, son of Colman, king of Glan Fiachadh 
north and south ; Firghin or Florence, son of Aodhna or Hugh 
Dubh, son of Criomhthan, king of the whole province of Mun- 
ster ; GriomhthanfDeilgeneach, king of West Ireland ; Ragal-^ 
lach, son of I^dhach, king of Tuatha Taighdean, and Breifnc 
O'Korke to Gliabhan Modhuirn ; Geallach, son of Gearnach, son 
of Dubh Dothra, at Briefne ui Reyly, Gongallach Ceanmhaguii* 
Tirconconuill ; FearguilL son of Maolduin on Oilioch ; Guaira. 
son of Conguill on Ulster ; the two kings of Oirgiall, their names 
were Daimin, son of Aongus, from Colchar Deasa to Fionn Garn 
at Sliabh Fuaid, and Hugh, son of Duach (?&,llach, from Fionu 
Garn at Sliabh Fuaid to the river Boyne. St. Golium Gill like 
wise attended this assembly at Dromceat ; for he had notice 
sent him into Scotland of the meeting, and the principal mo- 
tives that occasioned it, and he immediately transported ^him- 
self from Aoii, where he lived, and was accompanied by a great 
number of religious persons, who were allowed to sit in this 
assembly. This saint was followed into Ireland by a retinue of 
twenty bishops forty priests, fifty deacons, and thirty students 
in divinity, who were not yet admitted into holy orders. Thi3 


transaction is transmitted to posterity in the verses ot an old 
poet called Amhra Colluin Gill, which may be translated thus : 

St. Colhim Cill arrived at Dromceat, 
Followed by a retinue of his clergy ; 
By twenty prelates of superior order, 
By forty presbyters and fifty deacons, 
And thirty students in divinity 
» !Not yet ordained.. 

I confess it may seem surprising that Ccllum Gill, who was no 
more than an abbot, should be attended by prelates, who were 
of a more excellent order among the clergy ; but the seeming 
difficulty will cease, by observing what the venerable Bade as- 
serts, in the fourth chapter of the fifth book of his English his- 
tory, where he treats of the bishops of the island of Aoii, in 
Scotland, and declares that the Scottish bishops acknowledged 
the superior jurisdiction of the abbpts of Aoii, and in the 
ancient times paid them spiritual obedience ; his expression is,* 
*' The island of Aoii was used to have an abbot, who was a priest, 
for its governor, to whom not only the whole province, but also 
the bishops, by an unusnal order, owed submission, after the 
example of the founder and the first teacher, 'who was not a 
bishop, but a priest and a monk." 

From the testim.ony of this learned writer we are to under- 
stand, that St. Gollum Gill was the first teacher that attempted 
to propagate the Christian faith among the Picts, in the north 
of Scotland ; lor which reason, not only the priests and the 
monks submitted to the authority of CoUum Cill, and his suc- 
cessors in the island of Aoii, but the prelates of the kingdom 
likewise were under their jurisdiction^ and paid them obedience. 
And therefore the bishops, who were instructed in the doctrines 
of Christianity by CoUum Cill, thought it their duty to attend 
upon him into Ireland, to the assembly of Dromceat. We have 
an account in the ancient manuscripts of a remarkable circum- 
stance relating to this saint, who, it seems, had obliged himself 
never more to look upon Irish ground, and therefore to prevent 
his sight, he wore a sear-cluth over his eyes during the voyage, 
and all the time he continued in the island. There was a very 
holy person called St. Malaise, who had sent CoUum Cill into 

* Solet ipsa habere proteotorem semper abbaten\ presbyterum, cnjus viri et 
omnis provincia et ipsi etiani episcopi ordine inusitato debent esse subjecti, juxta 
exemplum primi dootoris illius (jui non epigcopus sed presbyter e.^titit et mona- 


Scollanci. as a religious penance for some offence he had com- 
mitted, and enjoined him, under solemn penalties, never more 
to. behold Ireland with his eyes; and CoUum Cill religiously 
observed his commands, and never was refreshed with a glimps'3 
of light till the assembly broke up and he returned into Scot- 
land. St. Molaise wrote a poem upon this occasion, wherein are 
these lines : 

The pious Collum Cill with his retinue 
Sail'd from the isle of Aoii, and arrived 
In Ireland ; but by the discipline of the church 
Enjoin'd, he never with his eyes beheld 
The country. 

The occasion of this severe penance inflicted by St. Molaise, 
was to correct the vindictive nature of St. Collum Cill, who had 
embroiled the kingdom in great confusion, and to gratify his 
revenge, was the promoter of the following bloody engagements ; 
the battle of Cuill Dreimne, the battle of Cuill ;Rathain, ar d 
the battle of Cuill Feadha. The battle of Cuill Dreimne was 
fought, as St. Ciaran testifies, in an ancient manuscript called 
Jobhuir Chiaran, upon this occasion. During the time of the 
sessions of the royal parliament of Tara, that was summoned 
by Diarmuid, the son of Feargus Ceirbheoil, king of Ireland, it 
unfortunately happened, that Cuarnon, the son of Hugh, son of 
Eochaidh Fioncharna, killed a gentleman, against the established 
laws and privileges of that convention. The king, resolved to 
preserve the rights and the dignity of that assembly ordered 
Cuarnon to be executed j but he escaped the hands of justice 
at that time, and implored the protection of the two sons ol 
Earoa, Feargus and Daniel, who gave him refuge ; and for the 
'better security of his life, they committed him to the care of 
St. Collum Cill, as to a religious sanctuary, which no authority 
would presume to violate. But notwithstanding the piety and 
the character of his keeper, the crime of the offender was ot 
that importance that justice found him out in his retirement 
and deprived him of his life. This sacrilegious violence, as it 
was judged to be, so enraged St. Collum Cill, that his passion 
urged him on to revenge ; and incensing the northern Clanna 
Neill, with the injury he had received , and the impiety of the 
fact, they took arms in defence of the saint ; and in an out- 
rageous manner demanded satisfaction of Diarmuid, for vio- 
lating the holy asylum, and putting the offender to death ; the 
king thought to chastise their sedition with the sword, and 


marched against them with his forces ; a terrible engagement 
followed, and after a bloody conflict the royal army, supported 
by the provincial troops of Conacht, was defeated, and that mar- 
tial glan obtained a complete victory, not a little owing (saya 
the manuscript) to the fervent prayers of Collum Ciil. 

There is another record, called the Black book of Molaga, 
which gives a different account of the battle of Cuill Dreimne. 
This chronicle relates, that there was a copy of the new testa- 
ment transcribed from the book of Fiontan, which was claimed 
by no proprietor, and therefore Fiontan insisted that the copy 
was his, as it was written from the original which was in hi3 
bands. Collum Cill was of another opinion, and strenuously 
urged, that since it was unknown who wrote it, he might as well 
""ay claim to it as another, and resolved to prosecute the matter 
:.o the utmost. This dispute was managed with great violence 
and ncrimony on both sides, and occasioned such disturbance, 
thac T'iarmuid was obliged to interpose and decide the dispute. 
Tie ki 1.4 heard the pretensions of both parties, and weighing 

iioeiately the arguments that were off*ered, he gave sentence 
X. 'ia'our of Fiontan, using this familiar proverb, that ' the cow 
anC .' calf ought always to go together ;' and therefore the 
propi ;tor of the original had an undoubted right in the copy, 
till the transcriber, who was the true owner, thought fit to lay 
in his claim. This repulse was resented by St. Collum Cill, i 
who found means to engage the king in a war, which occasioned 
the memorable battle of Cuill Dreimne. The battle of Cuill 
Rathain, fought between the Dailnaruidhe and the inhabitants 
of Ulster, was occasioned by the resentment of St. Collum Cill, 
who had received some affront from Comhgall, and resolved to re- 
venge it with the sword. Comhgall raised the forces of that pro- 
vince to oppose him, and both sides came to an engagement. The 
battle of Caill Feadha was likewise fought by the procurement 
of St, Collum Cill. In this action he encountered the forces of 
Colman, the son of Diarmuid, who had raised a numerous army 
in defence of his son Colman, who had unfortunately killed 
Baodan, the son of Ninneadha, kiag of Ireland, at Leim an 
Eich, which young prince was committed to the charge and 
tuition of St. Collum Cill. 

It has been observed before, that St. Collum Cill came out of 
Scotland, attended by many prelates, presbyters, and deacons ; 
and when he came near Dromceat, where the principal of the 
kingdom were assembled, the wife of Hugh, king of Ireland, 
was incensed at his arrival, and commanded her sou Conall to 


use these religious foreigners with contempt and disrespect, and 
not- to regard their office, nor give them the least countenanco 
or protection. This uncivil design was soon communicated to 
St. Collum Cill, who being of a quick resentment, refused to 
enter into the assembly, till he had obtained his revenge upon 
the queen and the prince for this treatment ; and therefore he 
addressed himself to heaven, and importunately petitioned for 
an exemplary stroke of vengeance ; which was, that the queea 
and her waiting lady, who attended near her person, might be 
punished with a disease, which, though not incurable, yet should 
afflict them with long and lingering pains. This infliction was 
sent by heaven, and obliged the queen and her attendant to con- 
fine themselves in their apartments, and not to come abroad^ 
During the time that their distemper continued, the supersti- 
tious people of the country imagined that they were turned 
into cranes ; for it happened that two cranes, that were never 
observed before, frequented an adjoining ford, which made the 
poor rustics fond ot this opinion. A poet of that age severely 
lashes this superstitious conceit, and among other satirical lites 
has these following : 

The queen astonisli'd at her feathers stood, 
And with her maid translorm'd, frequents the flood: 
But when she sees a coming storm, she sails 
Above the clouds and leaves the lowly vales. 

The reason of the saint's resentment against the servant was, 
because she was the messenger employed by the queen to the 
young prince, to prejudice him against the reception of St. Col- 
lum Cill and his attendants. 

After St. Collum Cill had accomplished his revenge upon the 
queen and her servant, he entered the assembly, where he was 
received with singular respect, and had the honovir to be placed 
next to Conall, the son of Hugh, son of Ainmereach, king oi 
Ireland, and the nobility and gentry that belonged to him. But 
when the young prince observed that the clergy were admitted 
into the convention, and seated in so eminent a place, he was 
moved with indignation, and incensed twenty- seven of the most 
luiious and passionate of his friends, who obeyed the commands 
of Conall, and in a most barbarous manner insulted the clergy, 
by pelting them with tufts and dirt, till they were covered with 
tilth, and some of them very much bruised by this violent and 
uncivil treatment. St. Collum Cill was amazed at the indig- 
nity, and undertaking the cause and protection of his followers, 


he expogtulated with Vae assailarits, and boldly inquired at 
w-hose instigation it was, that the privileges belonging to that 
assembly were so outrageously violated, and the rights of the 
particular members so insolently invaded ? and when he under- 
stood that Conall, the king's son, was the director and the prin- 
cipal cause of this barbarity, he warmly represented to the 
prince the heinousness of the fact ; and, as the chronicle goes on^, 
he caused twenty-seven bells to be rung, and by these bells he 
laid the most heavy curses and dreadful imprecations upon him ; 
which had that effect, as to deprive Conall of his sense and 
understanding, and in the end occasioned- the loss of his estate, 
and of the succession itself to the crown of Ireland. This cruel 
prince, from the curse laid upon him by ringing the bells, was 
afterwards distinguished by the name of Conall Clogach. 

Hugh, the king of Ireland, had another son, whose name was 
"Oaniel, a prince of a more humane and courteous disposition 

n,n his brother, and who professed a reverend regard to the 

. ir'stian religion, and the clergy that officiated in the adminis- 

of it. St. Collum Cill applied himself to this young 

nco, v^ho received him suitable to his character and holy 

■ ipaioa ;. he instantly rose up, and kissed the cheek of the 
. LCiiufc ; and among other testimonies of respect, he resigned his 
seat, end placed St. Collum in his own chair. The saint was so 
affeCv i with this uncommon courtesy and condescension, that 
he pronounced a benediction over the young prince, and prayed 
solemnly to heaven that his life might be crowned with pros- 
perity and happiness, and after the decease of his father, he 
might succeed him in the throne of Ireland, and be a blessing 
to his people. The prayers of the saint had their desired suc- 
cess ; for Conall, as his right and inheritance, his brother being 
incapable to govern, was possessed of the sovereignty of the 
island, and ruled the kingdom thirteen years. 

After these civilites had passed between the saint and the 
young prince, St. Collum Cill addressed himself to the king, who 
was in a separate apartment from the rest of the assembly, and 
the young prince Daniel with him. The king was somewhat 
surprised at the appearance of the saint ; for by the miracles 
Y^hich he had performed, and by the constant success of his 
prayers, he became terrible to the Irish court, and the king 
himself had a great awe upon him when he came into his pre- 
feence ; but, notwithstanding, he was received with great cere- 
mony and outward respect, which proceeded perhaps more from 
fear than any sincere value for his person or his character. The 

OF lai^LAXD. 379 

gaint -u'as willing to prove the integrity of the reception, And to 
n^ake trial of the king's favour, and therefore he told him that 
he had three requests to propose, which, if thsy were granted, 
he should be convinced that the civility and reverence showed 
him outwardly by the king was real and undisguised. Hugh, 
afraid to disoblige the saint, replied, that whatever his petitions 
were, if it was in his power, they should certainly be grtinted. 
St. Collum made answer, that he was able to gratify his desires, 
which were, that he would retract his purpose of banishing the 
poets, and driving them out of the kingdom : that he would 
discharge Scanlan More, king of Ossery, from his confinement, 
whom he kept in his custody as a prisoner ; and that he would 
not transport his army into Scotland, to raise the chief rents 
and contributions of the Dailriada, or advance their tribute be- 
yond what was paid to his predecessors. The king said in 
answer, that it would be of infinite prejudice to his government 
to give any protection to the poets, for they were a lazy, cove- 
tous, and insatiable body, and an insupportable grievance to the 
people ; that their numbers increased daily, every superior poet 
taking state upon himself, being followed by a retinue of thirty, 
and those of a lower order retaining a proportionable number 
of attendants suitable to their several degrees, so that a third 
part of the whole kingdom had entered themselves into the so- 
ciety of the poets, to the great decay of trade and industry, and 
the sensible impoverishment of the country ; and therefore he 
was obliged, for the ease of his subjects, and his own safety, to 
purge the island of them, and transplant them into new settle- 
ments. The saint patiently attended to the king's reasons, and 
convinced by the force of his arguments, he replied, that it was 
necessary that the college of poets should be reformed but not 
suppressed ; that he would consent to the reduction of their 
numbers, and the degrading of the greatest part of them; yet it 
would be a support and emolument to the royal dignity, if his 
majesty, after the example of the preceding kings, retained a 
poet of honesty and distinction in his court, and would allow 
that every provincial prince in the island should enjoy the pri- 
vilege of a learned poet in his retinue ; and that every lord of 
a cantred should likewise maintain a poet if he pleased, to pre- 
serve the exploits and record the genealogy of his family. Tnis 
proposal was accepted by the king, the expulsion of the poets 
was prevented, and this regulation was the standard by which 
the society of poets were directed in future ages. This agree- 
ment between St. Collum Cill and the king of Ireland is thus 


transmitted to us^, in the lines of an old poet, called Maol- 
ruthuin : 

The poets ^ve^e seciirVl from banishtnent 
Ey CoUum Ciil, who, by his sage advice, 
Soften'd the king's I'e&entment, and prevail'd 
That every Irish monarch should retain 
A learn'd poet ; every provincial prince, 
And lord of a cantred, were by right allowed 
The same privilege and honour. 


From this establishment by Hugh, the king of Ireland, and 
'St. Collam Gill, arose the continued custom for every Irish 
monarch to maintain a most learned and accomplished poet ia 
his court, for his own use and service ; every provincial princa 
and lord of a cantred had the same liberty allowed, and were 
obliged to settle a fixed salary upon their poets, that was suffi- 
cient to afford them an honourable maintenance, and secure 
them from the contempt of the people. In those ages the per- 
sons of poets were esteemed sacred, and their patrimonies and 
properties inviolable. In public wars and commotions they 
were exempted from plundering and contributions, they paid no 
taxes or acknowledgments to the state, and their houses wera 
invested with the privilege of a sanctuary, and not to be forced 
without sacrilege and impiety. There were colleges erected, 
and large revenues settled upon them in the nature of universi- 
ties, where learning and arts were taught and encouraged. Rath 
Ceannaid was an academy in those times^ and so were Masruidh 
and Maigh Sleachta in Breifne : here free schools were opened, 
and youth educated and instructed in antiquity, history, poetry, 
and other branches of valuable and polite learning. 

In the reign of this Irish monarch, Eochaidh Eigeas was the 
-most excellent poet, and was president over the whole body 
throughout the island ; he was known by another name, and by 
some called Dalian Forgaill : this governor of the society had 
authority to examine into the qualifications and abilities of 
novices and candidates, and upon admission, he sent them into 
the several provinces of the island ; particularly he recommended 
Hugh Eigeas to Crioch Breag, and Meath Urmaol he ordained 
the chief poet in the two provinces of Munster ; Seanchan, son 
of Uairfeartaig, he appointed to the province of Conacht, and 
Firb, the son of Muireadhach, he fixed in the province of Ulster, 
and settled a poet of good learning and ingenuity in the family 
of every lord of a cantred through the whole kingdom. These 

OF mELA^1>. S81 

poetics.! professors ha<l free lands and revenues assigned them 
for their support, by their several patrons ; they were exempted 
from tax and plunder, invested with valuable privileges^ and, 
over and above their salaries, were paid for every poem they 
composed, by the person or family that, employed them. 

The §ecoud request that St. Collum Gill preferred to Hugh, 
the king of Ireland, was the release and enlargement of the king 
of Ossery ; but this petition was denied, which so displeased the 
f:aint, that he replied boldly, that Scanlan should be discharged, 
and that very night should untie the strings of his brogues at 
the time when he was offering up his midnight devotion. 

The third favour, that St. Collnm Gill desired of the king of 
-Ireland was, that he would not attempt to transport au army 
into Scotland, to raise the tribute and taxes that were usually 
paid by the tribe of the Dailriada ; for it would be an encroach- 
ment upon their ancient privileges, and contrary to the estab- 
lished laws of his predecessors, to commit hostilities upon that 
honourable clan, which was always ready to assist the Irish crowa 
with their arms, and expose their lives with great bravery in its 
defence. But this remonstrance, how reasonable soever, had no 
effect upon the king, who resolved to invade Scotland with a 
powerful arm}', and compel that tribe to gratify his demand. The 
Baint made answer, that Providence had taken that illustrious 
clan into its peculiar protection, which was able and resolved to 
set bounds to the tyranny and exactions of the Irish crown, and 
■would deliver the Dailriadas from so unjust and unprecedented 
oppressions ; and this was spoken with a prophetic spirit, and 
was afterwards literally accomplished. After this discourse be- 
tween the king and the saint, he with the retinue of the clergy 
took leave of the court, and prepared to return to Scotland. 
An ancient manuscript, called Leabhar Glin da Loch, observes, 
that Aodhan, the son of Gabhran, son of Domanguirt, was pre- 
sent at the assembly of Dromceat, and was allowed a place ia 
the convention, and that he was among the attendants of Saint 
Collum Gill, when he had the last intercourse with the Irish 
monarch, and made his compliments at his departure. The same 
valuable record asserts, that the assembly of Dromceat sat con- 
stantly, without prorogation, for the space of a Tfhole year and 
one month, where most excellent laws were established and ad- 
mitted, for the correcting of abuses in the state, and for the ta- 
tare government of the people. 

When St. Gollum Gill had taken his final farewell of the king 
and the Irish court, he withdrew and came with his followers to 


a placft called Dabh Eeagluis, in Inis Eogain, where Scanlan 
the king of Ossery, was confined in close custody ; and the night 
after he arrived (as the old chronicle, tinctured, I am afraid, 
with ignorance or superstition, particularly mentions) a most 
miraculous event happened : for a large pillar, as it were or 
fire, appeared in the air, which it enlightened, and directly hung 
ov^r the apartment where Scanlan was imprisoned, under a strong 
guard, and loaded with chains. The soldiers were astonished 
at this fiery appearance, which w^s exceeding bright and terrible, 
and under surprise fell flat upon their faces to the ground. All 
the castle was illuminated as at mid-day, and a beam of light 
darted into the room where the king of Ossery lay, groaning 
under the weight of his irons, and (as the tale goes on) he heard 
a distinct voice, which called to him aloud, "Stand up, Scanlan, 
give me your hand, fear nothing, leave your chains and fetters 
behind you." The king was in amaza at the vision and the 
voice ; but he took courage upon recollection, and rose up, and 
gave his hand to an angel in human shape, who led him out of 
the apartment, his feet being at liberty, and his chains falling 
oft ot their own accord. The guards were surprised as the angel 
Avas conducting the king, and demanded who they were that 
dared to force the prison against the king's command. The 
ungel replied, that Scanlan. king of Ossery, was delivered from 
his imprisonment ; which answer confounded the soldiers, for 
Ihey thought it impossible that any human power would make 
W desperate an attempt. And by this means the king obtained 
Lis liberty. 

AVhen they had passed the guards, the king was presented to 
St. Collum (Jill, with whom he was to continue that night; and 
the saint being disposed to sleep, intended to take off his brogues, 
but was prevented by the king, who untied them, as St. Collum 
Cill had predicted. The saint, in surprise, demanded who had 
loosened his strings ; the king answered he had done it, which 
gave the saint great satisfaction, because he had frustrated the 
design of Hugh, the king of Ireland, upon that prince, and pro- 
cured his delivery from a cruel imprisonment. 

The king of Ossery was severely used during his confinement ; 
his apartment^was mean and unbecoming his quality, his diet 
hard and exceeding coarse, his keepers allov/ed him nothing 
but salt meat, which so violently inflamed his throat, and raised 
Lis thirst, that when St. Collum Cill would have talked with 
Lim about the circumstances of his usage, and the posture of his 
affairs, his mouth was so dry, that he could not speak plain, or 

OF UlELAND. 383 

give an ansvrer, but made signs, and by a confused noise signi- 
fied that he wanted drink. The saint immediately relieved his 
thirst, and commanded Baoithin, one of his followers, to give the 
king a large bowl top full, which the king ioyfully accepted, 
and finished at three draughts. After his thirst was thus as- 
suaged, and his throat cooled, he was able to discourse, and an- 
swered the saint particularly to every question, and made him 
acquainted with his nearest concerns. From the impediment 
that was in the speech of the king, occasioned by his thirst, the 
posterity of Scaulan, who succeeded him in the command of 
Osser}^, were observed to stammer, and to pronounce their- words 
with a great deal of trouble and difficulty. The king being thus 
restored to liberty, was advised by St. Collum Gill to return to 
his government, and appear publicly in the administratiou. of 
afFiiirs. But Scanian apprehended the resentment of Hugh, king 
of Ireland, who would be apt to seize upon him again, and com- 
mit him to prison, under a stronger guard, with worso usage. 
The saint told him not to fear, and to inspire him with courage, 
he bestowed upon him his episcopal stafi, as a secuUty and pro- 
tection, with a command to leave it for him at hi?, convent at 
Armuigh, in the county of O'ssery. The king, under this sacred 
assurance of safety, returned to his court, and reigned over his 
people as long as he lived, without any distui'bauce or invasion 
from Hugh, king of Ireland. 

Scanian, from a principle ot gratitude, acknowledged the fa- 
vours he had received from St. Collum Cill, to whom he owed 
his life and delivery, and enacted a law, which should oblige 
his subjects, who were masters of families, to pay three pence 
a year towards the support of the convent, which St. Collum 
Cill had erected, at Armuigli, in the county of Ossery ; and this 
tax was to be levied from Bladhma to the sea- side. An old poet 
of good authority, who composed upon the Amhra or the Vision 
of St. Collum Cill, has recorded this transaction iu the following 

It is establish'd by my royal la^r, 

Which 1 require my subjects to obey, 

That every master of a family, 

Who lives witliin th' extent of m.y command, 

Should three pence offer, as a j-'early tribute, 

To the religious convent of Armuigh. 

After this revenue was settled upon the convent by a legal 
establishment, St. Collum Cill pronounced a solemn benediction 
upon the royal family of Scanian, and upon the whole country 

38-1 TH:-: gp:neral history 

in general ; but limited by this condition, that the king and the 
people should pay obedience to the governor of the convent, who 
was to exercise a sort of spiritual jurisdiction over all Ossery ; 
and likewise, that they would be just and regular in the pay- 
ment of the yearly revenue that was fixed by law upon them- 
selves and their posterity. An account of this transaction 
is transmitted to us in the same poem, called the Vision of St. 
Cullum Cill : the verses may be thus translated ; 

The fruitful land of Osseiy I bless, 

The king, his family, and all his subjects, 

Who from a conscience of religion 

Have bound themselves a yearly tax to pay. 

And fix'd the same on their posterity. 

It is to be observed, that St. Collum Cill, whose memory is 
BO valuable among the ancient Irish, was called originally at his 
baptism by the name ot Criomthan ; and, if we believe the book 
that gives an account of his Vision, (whose testimony may per- 
haps be questioned in some particulars,) his guardian angel, who 
always attended him, was known by the name of Axail ; and 
his evil genius, who followed him as a plague to infect his mind 
and inspire him with impious thoughts and wicked designs, 
was called Demal. This we find recorded (though with what 
certainty it is hard to say) in the same treatise which relatea 
the most memorable acts of this saint. 

The pious Christian hero, Collum Cill, 
When he was baptiz'd, received the name 
Of Criomthan O'Cuin ; his guardian angel 
Was the most watchful Axall ; but the demon 
Who, with infernal malice stung, attended 
Upon the saint to torture and torment hun, 
Was called Demal. 

This change of his name 'aappened when ha was under tha 
tuition of Florence, or Finghin Moigh Bille, who was the tutor 
that instructed him in the doctrines of religion, and had the 
principal care and management of his education. This master 
allowed his pupil liberty, one day in the week, to divert himself, 
and go to the neighbouring town, to play with his companions, 
w^ho were youths of the same age ; and being a child of a very 
modest and agreeable disposition, his company was desired by 
all the children in the country, who, upon the day that he was 
to go abroad, would resort to the door of the monastery to re- 
ceive him j and when they saw him coming to the gate th^y 


would from a transport of joy lift up their hands, and cry, 
" Here comes CoUum na Cille," which in the Irish language sig- 
nifies The pigeon of the church ; for he was a child distinguished 
for a meek behaviour, and the title was applied to him with 
great propriety. When the abbot Florence, who was his guar- 
dian, observed the name his companions had bestowed upon the 
youth, he began to think it was the will of heaven that he 
should be so called, and from that time he gave him the title ot 
CoUum Cill, and never used the name of Criomthan, which was 
given him at his baptism. 

Nor is it surprising to find an alteration in the name of this 
saint ; for such changes happened frequently among the saints, 
who were often distinguished by new names. This we observe 
in a religious person called Muchoda, who was a disciple of St. 
Patrick, and was originally called Carthach ; the same we find 
in Caomhan, who at the font received the name of Mac Neile ; 
and St. Patrick himself was called Sicar at his baptism, but 
when he came to confirmation he had the name given him of 
Gemnus Magnus, and afterwards when Celestine, the Pope of 
Eome, sent him into Ireland to propagate the Christian faith, he 
again changed his name, and called him Patrick. Upon this 
occasion I might instance Fionnbhair of Cork, and many others 
of exemplary piety, who were distinguished upon occasions by 
different names, in the same manner as St. Colium Cill, who 
irom his youth was known by that name, notwithstanding he 
received the name of Criomthan when he was baptised. 

It must not be omitted in this place, that the father of St. 
Colium Cill was naturally an Irishman, his mother was like- 
wise of the same country, and not of a Scottish descent, as some 
partial historians of that kingdom would willingly impose upon 
the world ; and to confirm this truth we have the authority of 
a book called the Chronicle of the Saints of Ireland, which ex- 
pressly asserts, that Feidhlin, the son of Feargus Ceannfada, 
son of Conull Gulban, the son of Niall, the great hero of the 
nine hostages, was the father of St. Colium Cill ; and as a far- 
ther evidence it may not be improper to subjoin the following 
verses, translated from an old poet, whose testimony cannot be 
disputed : 

The most religious Colium Clli 
Desceadsd from the roj'al race of Felix, 
Son of Feargus, most renown \l iu war, 
Sou of the uivL'acible Conuii Gulban. 


This is the genealogy of St. Colliim Ciil by his father's line ; 
and that he was likewise of Irish extraction by the family of 
his mother, appears from the testimony oi the treatise beCoro 
mentioned, called The vision of Collum Cili, which records, that 
Eithne, the daughter of Diom-a, son of Naoi, who came from 
the posterity of Cairbre Kiafer, king of Lsinster, was the mother 
of this saint. The following verses are translated h'oiu th3 
same writer : 

Eithne, a noLle and virtuous princess, 
Sprung from the illustrioiis line of Cairbre, 
Vv'as daughter of Dioma, son of Naoi, 
And mother to St. Collum Cill. 

This Irish saint raortined hh body by a continued course of 
abstinence ancl austerity, which by this severe usage became so 
macerated, that his bones had almost pierced through his skin ; 
and when the v/ind blew hard through the wall of his cell, which 
was unplaistered, and forced aside his upper garment, his ribs 
became visible through life habit ; for by his fasting and other 
acts of devotion he was no more than the image of a man, and 
was v/orn to a very ghastly spectacle. An ancient poet haa 
transmitted this description of St. Collum Cill in the follow- 
ing verses : 

This pious saint, as a religious penance, 
Lay on the cold gi-ound, and through his garments. 
His bones look'd sharp and meagre ; his poor cell 
Was open to the inclemency of the winds, 
Which blew through the unplaister'd walls. 

The age of this saint, as the m.ost authentic chronicles relate, 
was seventy- seven years. This copaputation is justified by tho 
account oi Dalian Forguill, who vvrote The vision of St. Collum 
Cill soon after his decease. He v/as a poet, and upon this occa- 
sion has these verses : 

St. Collum Cill, after a pious life 
Of S3venty-sevea years, breath'd out his soul, 
And was translated to the heavenly choir 
Of angels and archangels, as a rev/ard 
Due to his virtues. 

The first forty-three years of his life he spent in the kin2:dom 
of Ireland, which was his native country ; then he removed into 
Scotland, where he continaed thirty-four years. The author of 


tlie vision of tbis saint has recorded these particulars of his Ijfe 
in the lines subjoined ; 

Forty-tliree j^ears this Christian hero liv'd 
\ Among his Irish countrymen, then inspired 

' With zeal to propagate the Christion faith 

He visited the Scots, to whom he preach'd. 
The gospel four -and-thirty years. 

The three principal places where St. Collum Cill usually re- 
sided, are known by the names of Aoii, in Scotland j .Derry, ia 
the province of Ulster, and Dunn da Leathghlass, where his 
body was solemnly interred. For these places of abode the 
laint ever retained a great affection, and mentions them with a 
particular fondness in tiiese verses, which he composed himself : 

]\ry soul delights to meditate- and pray 

At iioii, tlie happy paradise of Scotland ; 

Deny, the glory of my native isle, 

I celebrate thy praise, by nature bless'd ; • 

To Dunn de Leathghlass I bequeath my bonea. 

In life a s\fect retreat. 

Sf. CollTim waf< naturally of a hate and robust constifiition ; 
for tlie author of his life relates, that when he used to celebrate 
mass or to sing psalms, his voice might be distinctly heard a. 
mile and a half from the place where he was performing his de- 
votion j and, as we find expressly related in his vision, no evil 
rpirit could bear the divine and harmonious sound of his voice, 
but fled away far out of the reach of it. To confirm this, it ia 
proper to introduce the evidence of an ancient poet, who, treat- 
ing of the vision of St. Colium, particularly luenlious it; the' 
lines may be thus trauslaied : 

. St. Colium by his swoet mclcdious voice 

iixpell'd the evil spirits, Avho tiom the' iound 

3'recipitantly lied ; for, by heaven inspir'd, 
• lie charm'd the good, but was a scourge and terror 

T',' tiiC profane. 

There is an account of a wonderful event, to be met with ii 
an old manuscript, which perhaps may be refused belief, but 
cannot wholly be omitted in tbis place. The chronicle relates, 
that when St. Colium Cill was in Ireland, there lived a pagan 
priest in the county of Tyrconnel, who erected a temple of great 
beauty and magnificenGa in those times, and among other curi- 
oijities of art and workmanship, he made an altar of fine glass,, 


which he stiperstitiously adorned with the vepresenfation of the 
sun and moon. It happened that this priest was seize^l with a 
sudden distemper, which took away his senses, and he was with- 
out motion, as if he had been in a swoon. The devil, who it 
seems had a particular resentment against the man, took advan- 
tage of the opportunity, and seizing him with his talons, was 
hurrying him away thi'ough the air ; St. Ck)llum looking up, 
perceived the fiend upon the wing bearing his prey, and when 
he was flying directly over him, the saint made the sign of the 
cross in the air above his head, which so astonished the devil, 
that he let go his hold and dropped the priest, who providen- 
tially fell at St. Collum's feet. This deliverance was so grate- 
fully received by the priest, that after a short discourse he be- 
came a convert to Christianity, and when he had dedicated his 
temple to the Christian service, he bestowed it upon St. Collum, 
and entered himself into a religious order, where he led a mo- 
nastic life, and became an eminent confessor for the faith of 
Christ. In the reign of Hugh, son of Ainmereach, kiog of Ire- 
land, the celebrated St. Collum was removed to a better state. 

It is to be cautioned in this place, that the saint we are 
speaking of was Collum Cill, the son of Feidhlin, son of Fear- 
gus ; for many excellent and pious persons in Ireland were 
afterwards known by the same name. That valuable record, 
called Leabhar Kuadh Mac Eogain, and the Chronicle oi the 
Irish saints, expressly assert, that many religious men, and ex- 
icmplary women, and abbesses of that kingdom, had the same 
name ; they take notice that there were twenty-two saints in 
Ireland called St. Collum, the first of which name was the saint 
■whose piety and virtuous acts have been described, and in hon- 
our of whose memory every one was desirous of that title, as a 
sort of check and restraint upon immorality and vice, and a 
signal example of temperance, charity, and every other Chris- 
tian virtue. 

We are told that there were fourteen religious persons in 
Ireland, known by the name of Breannuin ; the two principal 
were Breannuin Biorra and Breannuin Ardfeart : and we find 
that there were twenty-five saints in that kingdom called Ciaran, 
particularly those holy men Ciaran Cluana Mac Naois, Ciaran 
Saigre, Ciaran Tiabruide Naoi, and Ciaran Cille Fionnuidhe. 
Thirty were distinguished by the name of Aodhan, and seven 
called Bairrfionn, of whom Bairrfioua, who lived in Cork, was 
of superior note ; this person had another name, and was called 
1^'iunnbhair of Cork, and was the son of Amergiu, sou of Dabii: 

* OF IRELAND. 389 

Baibhin, son of Nineadha, son of Eochaidli, son of Cairbre Ard, 
son of Bryen, son of Eochaidh Moidhmeodhin, king of Ireland. 
In the convent of Cork, the governor of which religious house 
was this Fionnbhair, there were seventeen prelates constantly 
residing, and seven hundred of the clergy. There w re fifteen 
holy women in Ireland, who were distinguished by the name of 
Bridget ; the most eminent of them was Bridget, the daughter 
of Dubhthaig, who lived in the province of Leinster, and the 
character of this pious woman is highly valued and esteemed 
among the religious throughout Europe. It is certain that she 
descended lineally from the posterity of Eochaidh Fionn Fuath- 
nairt, who was a famous prince, and brother to the renowned 
Conn, the hero of the hundred battles ; as we find it particu- 
larly mentioned in the chronicle of the Irish saints, where there 
is a poem that begins with these words, Naomh Sheanchus, 
Naomh Insi Fail, and has the genealogy of this lady expressed 
at large in this manner : Bridget, the daughter of Dubhthaig, 
Bon of Dreimne, son of Breasal, son of Dein, son of Conla, son 
of Art, son of Cairbre Niadh, son of Cormac, son of Aongus, 
son of Eochaidh Fionn Fuathnairt, son of Feidhlimidh Reacht- 
mar, son of Tuathal Teachtmar, king of Ireland. The religious 
women that w;ere known by the name of Bridget in that king- 
dom were fourteen, and were those that follow : Bridget, the 
daughter of Dioma ; Bridget, the daughter of Mianaig ; Bridget, 
the daughter of Momhain ; Bridget, the daughter of Eana y 
Bridget, the daughter of Colla; Bridget, the daughter of Eathtair 
Ard^ Bridget, of Inis Bride ; Bridget, the daughter ot Diamair; 
Bridget, the daughter of Seannbotha ; Bridget, the daughter of 
Fiadnait ; Bridget, the daughter of Hugh; Bridget, the daughter 
of Luinge ; B/"idget. the daughter of Fiochmaine ; Bridget, the 
daughter of Flainge. 

It was in the reign of Hugh, the son of Ainmereach, king of 
Ireland, whose history is now under consideration^ that Gaodhil 
gave over Manuinn Eogan Mac Gabhran, being very a^ed at 
that time. Under the government of this monarch St. Caia- 
catch Aphadhbo, descended from the posterity of Feargus, son 
of Riogh, departed the present life. About this time it was, 
that Colman Rimidh engaged in the memorable battle of 
Sleamhna, where the royal army of Hugh, king of Ireland, with 
his son Conall at the head ol it, was defeated ; soon afterwards 
the battle of Cuill Caoll was fought by Fiachadh, the son of 
Baodan, in which action Fiachadh, the son of Diomain, was" 
routed, and the greatest part of his army put to the .sword. 


After tins defeat. Conall, the son ol Suibhne, obtained, by hia 
singular bravery, three complete victories in one day, when he 
conquered three generals of the name of Hugh, viz., Hugh 
Slaine, Hugh Buidhe, kino- of Omaiue, and Hugh Roinn, king 
of O'Faile. These battles were fought at Bruighin da Choga, 
as the following Imes expressly testify : 

The martial Conall with his valiant troops 
Three battles fought, and fortunately conquer'd 
The three renowned Hughs, Hugh Slaine, 
Hugh Roinn, and Hugh Buidlie who bravely fcJ 
With all their forces- 

Fiachadh, the sou of Baodan, and Fiachadh, the son of Dio- 
main, who are mentioned before, were engaged in perpetual 
quarrels and disputes, which were fomented with great violence 
on both sides ; and they could not be persuaded to an interview 
and reconcilement, for St. Collum Cill interposed, and -by the 
lueditation of his prayers prevailed, that Fiachadh, son of Dio- 
maiu, had always the advantage of his enemy, over whom he 
obtained several victories. The unfortunate Fiachadh, son of 
Baodan, having suffered many grievous defeats, applied J;iimself 
to St. Collum Cill, and desired him to favour his interest ; for 
,he was sensible he was not so much overcome by the arms of his 
enemies, as vanquished by the irresistible powers of his prayers. 
The saint expostulated the matter with him, and among other 
particulars, demanded whether it was his choice to lose his life 
in battle, and be happy afterwards in the kingdom of heaven, 
or to come off victorious over his enemies and be eternally 
miserable in another state. The ambitious and deluded prince 
replied, that he would trust his soul into the hands of Providence; 
but of all things he desired in this world, he would choose to 
subdue his enemies in battle ; for such exploits would make hig 
name immortal and mentioned with honour to all posterity. 
This answer was very unwelcome to the saint, who lamented the 
folly of the young prince ; but proposing the same question to 
Fiachadh, son of Diomain, he made a more Christian choice, and 
preferred the happiness of a future life to all the titles of fame, 
and the glorj^ of conquest, which attended the victorious in this 
world ; and the wisdom of this prince was so acceptable to the 
saint, that he received him under his immediate charge, entreated 
heaven for success in all his undertakings, and by his prayers 
obtained victory for him in every engagement. 

Evef J principal family of the nobility and gentry throughout 

** OFIHELANB." 391 

the kingvlorn of Irelandj expressed a singiilar veneration and re- 
verence for some particular saint^ whose name 'they invoked, 
and whose protection thej implored upon all occasions ; and 
this will appear evidently from the instances that follow. The 
families of the Tuathallachs and Byrns applied themselves to 
St. Caoimhgin, of Glindaloch ; the Cinsalachs committed them- 
selves to the care of Maoidog Fearna ; the Cavenaghs to Mo- 
ling ; the Moores, in the Irish language O'Mordha, addressed to 
Fioutan of Cluain Aidnach ; Ossery called upon Caineach Ach- 
asdho ; the O'Bryens Apharlach directed their prayers to 
Seadhna ; Muskry Mac Diarmuid placed themselves under tho 
care of Gobuuit ; Imocuille fixed upon St. Colman, with many 
other noble families that might be mentioned in this place. 
There was not a county or territory in all the kingdom but what 
had a particular saint, whose name they invoked in all emer- 
gencies, and who was made choice of as the guardian of them- 
selves, their families, and fortunes. But the saints we have 
already mentioned were not the most distinguished ; for the 
most popular names throughout t